Developer lobbies to rezone Howth Castle land for housing

Investment group Tetrarch seeking to develop housing on large Howth estate

Howth Harbour and village. Developer Tetrarch said there was a lack of lands zoned for residential development in Howth.   Photograph: Alan Betson

Howth Harbour and village. Developer Tetrarch said there was a lack of lands zoned for residential development in Howth. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Irish investment group Tetrarch has begun lobbying Fingal County Council to rezone land by Howth Castle for a housing development, claiming the site is currently “significantly underutilised”.

Tetrarch Capital acquired the vast estate in the north Dublin coastal village of Howth two years ago from the Gaisford-St Lawrence family, who had owned the land for more than 800 years.

The developer has told the local authority it had identified 15 hectares of land “readily available to be zoned for residential development”, in a letter seen by The Irish Times.

The letter dated February 6th was sent by planning consultants Tom Phillips & Associates on behalf of Tetrarch, and said there was a lack of lands zoned for residential development in Howth.

The 170 hectares of land includes Howth Castle, Deer Park golf course and a former hotel, and large green spaces.

It is currently zoned as “high amenity”, with the council’s development plan committed to protecting it from inappropriate development.

Tetrarch has told the council it believes the land is “underutilised in its current form”, and that it is preparing a master plan to develop the estate.

Diminished

Howth Castle required “significant investment” to maintain the building for ongoing use, and the former Deer Park hotel “will be required to be replaced”, the letter said.

The existing Deer Park golf course had “diminished in use” over time, and a championship golf course is planned to be developed in its place, the letter said.

The proposed housing development would be located towards the eastern corner of the large estate, near existing housing at Grace O’Malley Road.

“It is envisaged that the development of these lands can provide for a mix of housing, with a particular emphasis on housing for down-sizers, right-sizers and retirees,” the letter outlined.

The council’s current six-year development plan is to run until 2023. There will be an opportunity for land to be rezoned under the subsequent plan, which work will begin on next year.

Tetrarch petitioned the council to rezone a section of the Howth Castle lands for housing as part of a current minor variation of the existing plan.

A council spokeswoman said any proposals to rezone land would not be considered “outside of the development plan review process”. The review of the council’s development plan would begin in March 2021, she said.

Cian O’Callaghan, a Howth-based Social Democrats TD, was critical that Tetrarch had closed off several access points to the land, which he said had “caused considerable distress to local residents”.

A spokesman for Tetrarch said under the new master plan it would “ensure continued public access to the estate from a range of different entry points, and the provision of a large park”.

The plan would include a new hotel, and propose a greenway link between Sutton and Howth. The process was in the “early days” and the proposal to rezone parts of the land would “involve further extensive public consultation”, he said.