A controversial development proposal for a scenic south Dublin fishing harbour has been given the go ahead by An Bord Pleanála.
Bartra Property, after a protracted planning struggle, has received permission to build a number of housing units at Bulloch Harbour in Dalkey.
It will consist of three three-storey houses, two apartments and a cafe as well as a number of other buildings.
Residents living at and near the picturesque coastal inlet, popular with tourists and for fishing, have long battled the proposals they believe are out of kilter with the surrounding area. Concerns have also been repeatedly aired as to the potential for flooding due to often high sea levels.
Local People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the decision was "incomprehensible".
"Bulloch Harbour is a unique public amenity used by people of all ages. It is an important part of the heritage of south County Dublin, " he said.
“The proposed development will effectively turn the harbour into a private area with part of the seafront area being effectively privatised and used as the front gardens” for the new homes.
Maura Lee West, spokeswoman for the Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association (BHPA), which has long fought the plans, said the decision was "inexplicable and astounding".
She said the board was “particularly ignoring the problem of significant flooding and overtopping (of waves). This is in light of climate change which will likely raise sea levels all around the coast”.
Ms Lee West said the board had granted permission despite a recommendation by its own planning inspector not to do so. An Bord Pleanála did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The decision will be a welcome result for Bartra - the property company owned by Richard Barrett - which has doggedly pursued its ambitions for the site.
It first applied for permission in 2016 but this was rejected by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in the face of substantial local objection. However, it scaled back and resubmitted plans in December, 2017.
Those too were rejected by the local authority but eventually passed by An Bord Pleanála. The decision has drawn expected ire from the locality.
“It is quite clear that what (Bartra) wants is three seafront mansions and two luxury apartments that will have asking prices in the millions,” said Mr Boyd Barrett. Separately, the BHPA has said it will meet soon to consider the outcome.
The final plans as approved by the planning appeals authority include the demolition of existing sheds and the construction of a boat building and storage facilities. It will also incorporate a “marine leisure” building, changing rooms and a cafe. There will be a seafood premises, four “fishermen’s huts” and a public square.
The residential aspect will include two 160 square metre apartments and three, three storey detached houses measuring 412 square metres apiece, each with roof terraces.