Big developers unhappy with Dún Laoghaire plan

Objections lodged on claim council has underestimating housing demand

Stillorgan Leisureplex, one of the sites to be developed by Kennedy Wilson, which owns the nearby Stillorgan Shopping Centre. Photograph: Alan Betson

Stillorgan Leisureplex, one of the sites to be developed by Kennedy Wilson, which owns the nearby Stillorgan Shopping Centre. Photograph: Alan Betson


Big property owners have lodged a series of objections to the draft development plan for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, some of them saying the local authority has underestimated housing demand.

The objections lodged by Ballymore, Ronan Group, Kennedy Wilson, Hines, Cairn and others come as the county council faces demands from the independent planning regulator to scale back zoning because, it believes, the draft plan allows for 6,800 more homes than needed.

Ballymore, controlled by developer Sean Mulryan and the owner of substantial lands at Shankill that straddle the M11 motorway, said it was “disappointing” to note that the draft targets the delivery of “only 20,669” housing units. “We believe that a target of an additional 35,000 housing units would be an appropriate target for the 2022-2028 development plan.”

Both Ronan Group, controlled by developer Johnny Ronan, and US-owned Kennedy Wilson expressed similar concerns using the same language in separate submissions by planning consultants, John Spain Associates.

Ronan Group, the owner of sites at Cherrywood and Lehaunstown with potential for some 3,500 dwellings, said restrictions in the draft plan on build-to-rent developments were “not appropriate”. It also called for the removal of a requirement that 50 per cent of apartment units to be dual aspect.

Kennedy Wilson, which owns Stillorgan Shopping Centre, manages more than 2,400 apartments in the State and said its 1,500 units in design or under construction included more than 500 at the Grange and Leisureplex sites in the council area.

“It is likely that unless the current [supply] shortage is allowed for, in addition to future need, core strategies which do not allow for the current shortage have the potential to compound it,” Kennedy Wilson said.

Hines, which bought more than half of the Cherrywood strategic development zone (SDZ) lands in 2014, complained that such properties did not have access to new policy.

‘Held back’

There was “growing concern” that the SDZ area was being held back by the planning scheme adopted seven years ago, Hines said. “In a competitive and constantly evolving construction sector, Cherrywood risks becoming a location where investment is less attractive, which is contrary to the purpose of an SDZ.”

Developer Cairn, also represented by John Spain, said in a 104-page submission that the section of the Stillorgan Road corridor from Donnybrook to Stillorgan town centre contains a number of large sites with “substantial” redevelopment potential.

Sites at key intersections were appropriate for tall landmark buildings, it said. “There are also several large sites along the corridor which have capacity for intensification and increased height which, with appropriate design, would not injure the residential amenity of adjoining sites.”

The submission for Jackson Way Properties, whose directors are James Kennedy and Antoinette Kennedy of Regent’s Park in London, said it owns 35.57 hectares at Carrickmines Great that straddle the M50. The draft plan “does not provide sufficient employment-zoned lands to address the planned requirements of the county,” it said.

Zoned for agriculture

Jackson Way wants the council to rezone 26.77 hectares southwest of the M50 for mixed-use development comprising a hospital campus, a hotel and non-retail employment. Most of the land is currently zoned for agriculture and rural amenity.

“The draft county development plan does not provide sufficient employment-zoned lands to address the planned requirements of the county during the plan period 2022-2028,” said Jackson Way’s submission.

Solicitors McCann FitzGerald sent a submission on behalf of Bartra Property (Dublin), controlled by businessman Richard Barrett, saying the company was interested in lands at the former Western Marine building at Bullock Harbour in Dalkey.

Bartra understood that councillors may be requested to remove “residential” use from the classes of use “open for consideration” on those lands but said the question of proper planning had already been determined by An Bord Pleanála. “Absent a material change in circumstances (of which there is none to our or our client’s knowledge), the council and its councillors are not free to form a different conclusion.”

Marlet, led by developer Pat Crean, said it controlled a number of significant sites in the council area.

Among other objections, it called on the authority to reconsider the 50 per cent dual aspect requirement. Marlet also took issue with minimum separation distances between buildings. “A more qualitative case-by-case approach should be considered by the planning authority.”

News Digests

Stay on top of the latest newsSIGN UP HERE