A controversial development proposed for Bulloch Harbour near Dalkey in south Dublin has been refused planning permission.
Bartra Capital Ltd, founded by developer Richard Barrett, had submitted plans for seven ground-floor commercial units and six three-storey terraced dwellings at the end of the harbour, with a further three houses to the rear of the development.
It prompted a strong reaction from the local community, with a number of public meetings held on the proposals.
Almost 300 formal objections to the development were filed with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
Bartra had said it intended to provide a scheme of development that was “both respectful and enhancing of the harbour and the local environment”.
However, the council’s planners did not accept this claim and refused planning permission.
Setting out their reasons for refusal, they said the site area reserved for residential use was excessive and the design had inadequate provision for its marine-related aspects.
They were concerned the development would “seriously compromise” the harbour’s ability to attract marine-related uses and would limit their scale and diversity.
“It is considered that this prominent quayside element is lacking in the quality and distinctiveness of design required for this location and would result in an incongruous and abrupt visual form within the harbour area and would also be seriously injurious to the amenities of adjacent property within the harbour,” they said.
“In particular, the development fails to integrate appropriately with the harbour area.”
Locals said the development would be a “Costa del Sol”-style imposition on a historic harbour which is held to be an integral part of the community.
However, one of the principal objections by campaigners – that the development would incur severe flooding in bad weather – formed no part of the refusal as set out by the council.
It is now open to Bartra to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.
The developer said it was “considering its position”.
“We are delighted with the decision,” said PJ Drudy, secretary of the Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association (BHPA), which had led the rallying call of opposition to the development.
“A whole range of reasons were given for why it was refused, but the basic message that came through was that the proposal was inappropriate for a very special area.”
The application for the development had also met with near unanimous political opposition.
Cathaoirleach and Fianna Fáil councillor Cormac Devlin said a specific local planning objective “clearly sets out that the type of development should enhance, not detract from Bulloch Harbour, and clearly this was not done.
“The reasons for refusal . . . will mean that a more sensitive, in-keeping and architecturally complimentary development with marine leisure facilities must be considered in any future development.”
Local People Before Profit councillor Melisa Halpin said the proposed development was "utterly inappropriate".
She said it was now time to push for a strategic plan for the harbour which would safeguard it against future, similar proposals.