Ranelagh residents oppose ‘horrendous’ build-to-rent plan

Ardstone Capital plans to put 671 apartments on former Jesuit lands at Milltown Park

Sandford Living Limited, part of the Ardstone group, has applied to An Bord Pleanála for a Strategic Housing Development  of apartments – 604 will be rental only, with the remaining 67 for sale. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Sandford Living Limited, part of the Ardstone group, has applied to An Bord Pleanála for a Strategic Housing Development of apartments – 604 will be rental only, with the remaining 67 for sale. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

 

Residents’ associations across Ranelagh in Dublin 6 are opposing plans for the construction of more than 600 build-to-rent apartments in blocks up to 10 storeys tall on former Jesuit lands to the south of the village.

Ardstone Capital two years ago paid €65 million for a 10-acre site at Milltown Park on Sandford Road, beside Gonzaga College.

Sandford Living Limited, part of the Ardstone group, has applied to An Bord Pleanála for a Strategic Housing Development (SHD) of 671 apartments – 604 will be rental only, with the remaining 67 offered for sale.

A total of 370 homes will be studio or one-bedroom units, with 274 two-bedroom apartments and 27 three-bedroom apartments. The development would result in the demolition of Miltown Park House, a late 18th-century villa.

Under the SHD process, applications for more than 100 homes or blocks of 200 student bed spaces are made directly to An Bord Pleanála, bypassing the local-authority planning stage. The system, which removed the right to appeal planning decisions on large-scale housing developments and resulted in a significant increase in legal actions against the board’s decisions, is to be discontinued next February.

Traffic and schools

Residents’ associations – including the Eglington Residents’ Association and associations in Cherryfield Avenue, Norwood Park and Millbrook – have come together under the banner Milltownparksos. The group said it would support the sustainable development of the site but said the proposed scheme would be too tall and excessively dense. It would also result in the destruction of 70 per cent of the woodland on the site, including 283 trees and would lead to “major extra pressure” on traffic and school places, the group said.

Group spokesman Marty Hodgins said local residents were shocked by the density of the development.

“People in the area know development has to happen on this site, but we were incredibly shocked when we saw the density of what is planned. It’s quite horrendous,” he said. “We appreciate there is a housing crisis, but building 90 per cent build-to-rent apartments, most of which are very small and aren’t designed for families, isn’t going to help that.”

‘Transient’ claim

The development seemed to be geared towards students or a “transient population”, he said. “This, along with other build-to-rent developments locally, will change the character of the whole area, and not just the area but the whole city.”

Residents were particularly concerned about the loss of trees, he said. “Ranelagh actually has very little green space, and this was one of the last green areas left. They are talking about removing 283 trees, some of which are more than 100 years old, and replacing them with garden shrubs to build this monstrosity.”

Ardstone did not respond to requests for comment but, in planning documents, it said the site was “ideally suited to the provision of a residential development comprising a mix of build-to-sell and build-to-rent units”.

Residents are likely to seek to take judicial review proceedings if An Bord Pleanála grants permission for the scheme. Dublin city councillors will hold a meeting on the proposed development on Monday.