‘Sub-standard’ bicycle parking stymies €144m Sandyford apartment scheme

An Bord Pleanála refuses permission for a 17-storey 428-unit build-to-rent scheme

Sub-standard parking for bicycles has stymied plans for a 428-unit build to rent apartment scheme at the Sandyford Industrial Estate in south Dublin.

In a decision on Monday, An Bord Pleanála refused permission to Patrick Crean's Marlet Group for a scheme that includes a "landmark" 17-storey tall apartment block at the former Avid Technology International site on Carmanhall Road at the Sandyford Industrial Estate.

The facilities at the €144 million scheme were to include a gymnasium, a cinema, yoga studio, cafe and lounge.

In its refusal to Atlas GP Ltd’s Strategic Housing Development (SHD), it found that the scheme would result in a sub-standard level of residential amenity for future occupants of the apartments.

It made this finding “in the absence of suitable alternative proposals to compensate for design deficiencies in the proposed units”. The planned scheme included 752 spaces for bicycle parking.

However, in the first reason for refusal in its formal order, the board stated that “substandard bicycle parking facilities have been provided, in particular with accessibility for all residents and the quantum provided for all visitors”.

The appeals board found that the scheme would result in an inadequate range and extent of residential support facilities and amenities serving the entire development.

In the second reason for refusal, the board found that the scheme would materially contravene the height and density provisions of the County Development Plan. An eight-storey height limit for the site is included in that plan.

The board inspector in the case, Stephen Ward, stated that while the quantum of bicycle parking spaces at 752 was "acceptable, I would have serious concerns about the accessibility of the 752 spaces at basement level".

Mr Ward stated that the spaces “are not directly or easily accessible as users would have to use a lift or stairs from the car-park ground-floor level to the basement level”.

He found that “the poor level of accessibility for bicycle parking represents a sub-standard approach, which is not in accordance with the apartments guidelines and does not promote more sustainable forms of transport in accordance with the national policy”.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council had recommended to the board that planning permission be refused on three separate grounds including the density and height of the scheme.

The developers had put an indicative price tag of €14.4 million for 43 units on site to be sold to the council for social and affordable housing if permission was granted for the scheme.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times

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