Developers Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan have been refused permission by An Bord Pleanála for 46 apartments, a cafe, pub, restaurant and shopping centre at the site of the former Kiely's pub in Mount Merrion, Co Dublin.
However, opponents of the proposed scheme remain concerned the developers could reapply for a larger residential development under new planning rules for big housing schemes.
The Kiely’s site was bought by the businessmen, who opened Union Café with a deli, wine shop and grocers at the front, while the pub underwent a refurbishment and name-change to Kennedy’s.
Mr McKillen and Mr Ryan sought permission to demolish the four-storey building and replace it with a mixed-use residential/retail building with 15,800sq m of floor space.
Last July, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council refused permission for the four- to five-storey development on the site at Deerpark Road, North Avenue and Wilson Road. The council received almost 340 objections to the scheme.
It refused planning permission on the grounds of the “scale, siting, layout, bulk and height” of the development. It would seriously detract from the area in terms of visual amenity, the council said.
The developers, through their company Tomose Ltd, appealed the council's decision to An Bord Pleanála. The board upheld the council's decision, saying the proposed development would "seriously injure the visual amenity of the area" and would "relate poorly" to the area. The board also had concerns in relation to the amount of traffic which would be generated by the development.
Local Fine Gael councillor Barry Saul welcomed the board’s decision.
“This decision sends a strong message about what type of developments the council and An Bord Pleanála will accept in what is a local community and not a shopping destination.”
However, Mr Saul said there was considerable concern locally that the developers might submit a new application, which would omit the large retail element, but would more than double the number of apartments at the site.
New legislation, due to come into force early in the new year, will allow developers to seek permission directly from An Bord Pleanála for estates of 100 homes or more. Mr Saul said locals were worried the developers may submit a new application in conjunction with a neighbouring site, occupied by Flanagan’s furniture showrooms.
Chris and Niall Power Smith have permission to develop 48 apartments at the Flanagan's site, but put the project on hold last September.
“Locals are very concerned about the recent changes to planning legislation which will reduce people’s right to a step-by-step planning process and by bypassing the local councils and councillors,” Mr Saul said.
A spokeswoman for Mr McKillen and Mr Ryan said they do intend to make a new application for the site, but needed time to assess the board’s decision. “They will go back to the drawing board in 2017, and put in a new application based on the findings [of An Bord Pleanála].”