Residents of Rathgar development engage planner to fight Cairn Homes plan

Marianella Owners’ Committee gathers €11,000 to fight strategic housing application

A group of residents in a Rathgar development have hired a planner and barrister to oppose Cairn Homes's plans for a site on their estate.

Cairn Homes had planning permission for 22 town houses but is now seeking to build apartments instead on the Marianella site.

The Irish-listed building firm has applied to develop 107 residential apartments across two blocks, one of which is five storeys and the other six. Additionally, it will build 72 car-parking spaces.

However, the deficit of car-parking spaces to apartments has prompted residents to fear that Cairn Homes plans to sell the entire block to an investor, rather than sell to individual buyers. Cairn has previously said it “has not entered negotiations or agreed to sell any part of the development to an institutional investor or private operator”.


Nevertheless, residents in the Rathgar, Dublin 6, development have a "feeling of resentment against Cairn" given the change to plans for the site, according to Conor Sexton, a resident representing the Marianella Owners' Committee.

Fast-track planning

To that end, they have raised about €11,000 to oppose Cairn’s plan which has been submitted as a strategic housing development, a status that gives it fast-track planning.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said the amount those living in the development were asked to give was €200 each. While the resident said it was “worth a shot” to lodge the opposition, they added that there were no plans to give more money to the cause.

The sums of money involved suggest residents in about 55 units contributed in the development where in excess of 200 units have been sold.

However, Mr Sexton said there’s an “overwhelming majority [of residents] in agreement” with fighting Cairn’s application.

A planner, a barrister and a photographer have all been engaged to oppose the developer’s planning submission.

“Everybody is extremely annoyed at the prospect on the basis that Cairn sold the apartments with 22 houses on the site. If people knew originally there wouldn’t be the same level of discontent,” Mr Sexton said.

Further action

He added that if they’re unsuccessful with their opposition to the plans, “we’ll go to the bitter end”, indicating they may consider further action.

“The majority of residents have been supportive,” he said, adding that if the owners’ committee needs more funds, “I don’t think we’ll have a problem”.

Given the fact that Cairn’s proposed development is on former monastery lands they are zoned as “institutional”. Institutional lands often provide “ancillary and incidental activities for the local community”, according to Dublin City Council’s development plan.

Residents are hoping that the housebuilder will consider removing surface-level parking and put in an underground car park to retain green space on the site. Alternatively, they want Cairn to reduce the volume of apartments planned for the development.

Marianella residents have until January 14th to lodge submissions on the plans and An Bord Pleanála will make a decision on the application by April 1st.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business