Plans to remove the roof and add three storeys to a protected 19th-century house in Dún Laoghaire as part of a build-to-rent scheme are to be subject to a public planning hearing in a rare move by An Bord Pleanála.
Ted Living Ltd last year applied for permission for 146 rental-only apartments in blocks up to eight storeys on the old Tedcastles Yard industrial site, opposite the town's west pier, using the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) fast-track system.
The site includes Dun Leary House, a distinctive yellow-brick detached four-storey house dating from the 1870s, built for the original owner of the adjoining coal yard.
Ted Living sought permission in 2020 to demolish the house as part of plans for 161 build-to-rent apartments, but later withdrew the application.
The new plans would see the “refurbishment” of the house, the company said. However, there would also be a partial removal of original walls and floors, the removal of the roof, and the construction of apartments above the existing building.
The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan requires the house “be retained in situ and renovated” in any future development of the site. Councillors last year also voted to add the building to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS), despite opposition from representatives of the developers who said the building did not merit inclusion and the RPS “should not be used as a blunt tool to inhibit potential development”.
The planning board has decided to hold an oral hearing next month specifically on the “treatment of the proposed protected structure”.
Independent Senator Victor Boyhan, who proposed the protection of the house in 2016, said the decision to hold a hearing underlined the significance of the building. "It is still my strong view that Dun Leary House is a protected structure and that status must be fully protected in line with the wish of the elected members of the council."
The company did not responded to requests for comment.
Under the SHD process, applications for large-scale residential schemes were made directly to the board, instead of local authorities, to speed up development of homes. The system was scrapped early this year, but a number of applications are still making their way through the process.
To avoid delays, a planning hearing on an SHD application would require “special circumstances”, the board said, and would “only be held in very rare cases”.
In this case it said it was proceeding with the hearing due to the “extensive removal of original fabric internally and the removal of the roof form” of the house.
The board noted the proposed work would see the “introduction of extensions that have the potential to overwhelm the existing structure”. The applicant was asked to justify the roof removal and “the appropriateness” of building additional floors above it.
The board has also asked the applicant to address the possibility of retaining and repurposing some original features inside the house and reinstatement of others. It has also asked for evidence that retaining the house in residential use, instead of turning it into offices, had been considered.