Diplomatic tensions as embassy objects to plan for 58 new homes

Apartments and houses would be built on Brighton Road in the south Dublin suburb of Foxrock

Brighton Road, Foxrock. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

A proposed development of new homes in the leafy Dublin suburb of Foxrock has raised the ire of the embassy of the Netherlands.

The Brighton Road Partnership, controlled by housebuilder Richmond Homes, the residential development arm of Avestus Capital, is looking to build 58 new homes on Brighton Road, on a site neighbouring the Dutch ambassador's residence.

Adjacent to Castlethorn’s Brighton Wood development on Brighton Road, the developer is looking to build on a site at the rear of three existing properties – Damson Lodge (formerly St Benedict’s), Fairholme and Craughwell. Permission is sought for 37 apartments and 21 two-storey houses, with 100 car-parking spaces, 58 of which will be at basement level. There will be 17 three-bed homes and four four-beds, with a combination of one-, two- and three-bed apartments in a five-storey building.

Objections to the proposed development have been received from a number of local residents, including the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which has its ambassador's residence nearby at Goleen, on Brighton Road. It wants to see the planning application turned down, due to the "excessive density" of the proposed development, the height and scale of which it says is "excessively overbearing".


The embassy also fears a potential security risk, and said “there is no way” it would have secured the property as its residence if the proposed development had been in place at the time.

In its submission, the embassy said the plan "destroys the special character" of the old Foxrock area, while it also contests plans to remove existing boundary trees and hedgerows on the site, noting that many of these comprise the "glories of the Foxrock Architectural Conservation Area" and plans to replace them with mature trees bought in Germany at a considerable cost are an "unacceptable proposition".

Other neighbours have also objected to the development, fearing that all the neighbouring properties will be overlooked, and as a result, it will “depreciate the value of all surrounding properties”.

“If permission was granted, this would set a very damaging precedent that would ruin the fabric of south Dublin villages,” said one, adding that it would also increase traffic in the area, noting that the “coming and going in and out of [Brighton Wood] is incessant as it is”.

Foxrock Area Community and Enterprise, which represents businesses and residents in the area, in its submission expressed concern about the density and height and scale of the development, as well as its lack of access to public transport.

An Taisce also declared the density to be “excessive”, arguing that the apartment block should be no more than three storeys in height.

Previous application

It’s the second time the developers have sought planning permission for the site. In 2018, an application was lodged to build 14 houses and 38 apartments, with the latter housed in one five-storey apartment building, as well as 89 car-parking spaces.

However, permission was refused due to issues with sewerage, the removal of trees from the “sylvan” setting and the expectation that the five-storey apartment block would appear “overbearing”.

A decision is due from the planners in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council by September 20th.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

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