Department disquiet at Sandyford planning restriction

Property investment company is ready to build 467 apartments on Sandyford site

The Department of Housing is understood to be unhappy with a restriction on the number of residential units that can be developed in Sandyford in south Dublin at a time of acute pressure on housing in the city.

In its local area development plan, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) placed a 1,300-unit cap on the number of housing units that can be developed in the core areas of Sandyford, which are served by the Luas line.

Two high-profile housing schemes in the Rockbrook area, by property firm Ires Reit and the receivers of an adjacent site formerly owned by developer John Fleming, have already put in for planning for close to 900 units, which would exhaust most of the council's limit.

The council’s restriction is understood to be at odds with Government policy for more high-density residential in suburbs, such as Sandyford, which are well served in transport terms.


Former minister for housing Simon Coveney last year raised concerns about planning restrictions in Dublin and the potential risk to future housing supply.

This followed a decision by Dublin City Council to limit the height of apartments in low-rise areas of the inner city to 24 metres and to 13 metres in low-rise areas of the suburbs.

A spokesman for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said its plan provided a vision for the development of the Sandyford business district.

“It is appropriate in scale to ensure the growth of high intensity employment and the introduction of residential development at a scale that can be accommodated while providing for residential amenity,” he added.

In response to queries, the department said it was not aware of any difficulties.

Separately, An Bord Pleanála’s ruling on an appeal by Ires Reit against the council’s refusal to grant planning for its Rockbrook development, which includes 467 apartments, has been delayed.

The planning authority was expected to make its decision this week, but has postponed this until October 2nd due to what it said was “capacity constraints” at board level.

It said that the issue will be resolved in the coming months as new board memebrs take up their posts, noting that “major housing developments” would continue to be prioritised.

Earlier this year, DLRCC refused permission for Ires Reit’s proposed plans at Rockbrook, suggesting the development would have an “overbearing” aspect and would result in an “oppressive built environment”. The site was acquired from Nama for €87.5 million in 2015.

Colm Lauder, an analyst with Goodbody Stockbrokers, says the further delay is "frustrating" for Ires, which aims to start the Rockbrook project as soon as possible. "Furthermore, such a postponement, albeit minor, adds yet a further delay in the development of desperately needed residential property in Dublin," he says.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times