Ires Reit to appeal planning refusal in Sandyford

The council disagrees with the ‘height, massing, scale and bulk’ of the development

Rockbrook in Sandyford: Residents say the area is  dominated by ‘one monstrosity’ which is a ‘total eyesore’.

Rockbrook in Sandyford: Residents say the area is dominated by ‘one monstrosity’ which is a ‘total eyesore’.

 

Ireland’s biggest private landlord, Ires Reit, has said it will appeal the decision of the Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown Council to refuse planning permissions for its planned development of 465 apartments at the Rockbrook scheme in Sandyford.

The company expressed “ serious disappointment” at the decision and said it would appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála, as well as pursuing all other options. Under a fast-track procedure, Ires Reit can expect a decision on the appeal within 18 weeks.

The property investment fund, which has a portfolio of some 2,400 apartments across Dublin, was planning to complete the development, which it had acquired from Nama for €87.5 million in 2015. The site originally had planning for a further 467 apartments, and last year Ires Reit lodged an application to build 492 units on the site.

However, the council requested further information last November, and Ires Reit subsequently revised its application down to 467 units, across three 14-storey blocks. However on March 30th, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Council refused permission for the proposed development.

Colm Lauder, an analyst with Goodbody Stockbrokers, says the decision “has further highlighted the inconsistency of decision-making at council level in Ireland, despite being guided by the national Government to boost supply”.

Mr Lauder said it’s a “disappointing result”and “further frustrates the policy efforts of the Government to improve residential supply in a highly constrained market”.

Overbearing impact

In explaining its reasoning, the council says the proposed development would have an “overbearing impact, would result in an oppressive built environment and would be visually unacceptable at this location”.

While the location, across from the Luas, had been designated as suitable for high-density development in the Sandyford Urban Framework Plan 2016-2022, the council disagreed with the “height, massing, scale and bulk” of the development, arguing that it would compete with the unfinished Sentinel building, another 14-storey building, which lies adjacent.

Local residents are not happy about the development either. The South Co Dublin Association of An Taisce wrote that the proposal was for an “excessive overdevelopment”, while it also said it was unsatisfactory that it did not include any play area for children.

“A huge concern for us residents is the lack of green areas in the locality . . . It is becoming a concrete jungle with constant traffic and children are playing in corridors because they have no play areas in the locality,” wrote another local resident.

A number of residents in the nearby area also expressed concern that the development would add “three more excessively tall buildings”, and the area is already dominated by “one monstrosity” which is a “total eyesore”.

Residents’ concerns

Noise pollution is another factor, with the Lakelands Residents’ Association calling for a dedicated phone line to be put in place by the developer to deal with residents’ concerns.

An objection was also lodged on behalf of Tivway and Picerno (in receivership), owners of the adjacent former Aldi site. Given their intention to seek planning permission to build residential units on this site, they asked that the site’s development potential is not “unreasonably curtailed” by the Rockbrook site.

Despite the set-back, however, Philip O’Sullivan, economist with Investec, expects the site to be completed by early 2019.

Ires Reit already owns a significant number of apartments in Sandyford, including The Forum and Beacon South Quarter, with typical rents for a two-bedroom apartment about €1,500 a month. It is also launching another scheme of 68 build-to-let apartments in the area at The Maple at Beacon South Quarter.