Planning permission has been granted to the owners of Blanchardstown Town Centre for a €450 million apartment scheme with almost 1,000 units despite strong opposition by several major retailers with outlets in the shopping centre.
An Bord Pleanála has rejected an appeal by several well-known stores including Harvey Norman, TK Maxx, Lifestyle Sports, Smyth’s Toys and Woodie’s DIY against the decision of Fingal County Council to approve the large mixed-used development on the site of the White Car park at the Blanchardstown Town Centre.
The large-scale project was also opposed by a number of local residents’ groups from Whitestown and Huntstown Lawn.
The proposed development consists of 971 apartments in seven blocks ranging from one to 16 storeys in height as well as a shop, office, gym, restaurant/cafe, creche, mobility hub, community facility and place of worship.
The development on a 6.6-hectare site is being proposed by Blanche Retail Nominee, a company linked to the shopping centre’s owners, Goldman Sachs.
The board said it was satisfied that, subject to compliance with various planning conditions, the proposed development would not contravene the retail objectives of the “major town centre” zoning.
It said the project would also constitute an acceptable quantum of development in the brownfield town centre location that would be served by an appropriate level of transport and social and community infrastructure.
The board said it would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or other properties in the vicinity and was acceptable in terms of urban design, height and scale.
The appeals body said the development was also acceptable in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety and would not pose a risk of flooding or increase the risk of flooding on other lands.
A total of 97 apartments are due to be sold to Fingal County Council for an estimated cost of €44.9 million.
Several retailers and tenants of Blanchardstown Town Centre had complained the development would negatively impact on their trade and criticised the lack of consultation by the centre’s owners about the plans for the apartment scheme.
Many “bulky goods” retailers said they benefited from good access and parking arrangements that would be severely affected by the loss of surface car parking.
They claimed the development materially contravened the zoning objective of the site that primarily was to provide for and strengthen retail development in an area designated as a major town centre.
Concern was also voiced about the loss of 525 parking spaces, which retailers claimed would lead to further congestion above existing levels around the shopping centre.
Local residents had expressed concern that the height of the apartment complex would be excessive, visually obtrusive, out of character and overbearing.
An Taisce also recommended that planning permission for the project should be refused on grounds of its height and inadequate public transport infrastructure.
However, Blanche Retail Nominee claimed the development was supported by national, regional and local planning policy that supported the consolidation of more intensive residential developments on strategically located sites in Dublin city and its suburbs.
Separately, the board agreed to vary the level of contributions in an appeal by the developer against over €4 million in contributions set by Fingal County Council in relation to a shortfall of playground facilities and open space.
Blanche Retail Nominee had argued the contributions were not calculated properly and should be reduced to just under €1 million.
Meanwhile, residents, who staged a protest at the shopping centre last weekend, said they are seeking legal advice on the board’s refusal to hold an oral hearing on the case.