Threat of destitution looms over more than 40 families

Planning board refuses approval for Clondalkin apartment block built and occupied

Larkfield House in Clondalkin where planning permission for 27 apartments was granted but up to 48 were built. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill/The Irish Times

Larkfield House in Clondalkin where planning permission for 27 apartments was granted but up to 48 were built. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill/The Irish Times

 

More than 40 families face homelessness in Clondalkin, Dublin, in less than a monthafter An Bord Pleanála refused permission for an apartment block already built and tenanted.

Among the families at Larkfield House, Coldcut Road, are 19 formerly homeless households and others supported by South Dublin County Council with the housing assistance payment.

Earlier this month the council suspended assistance payments to residents following a planning inspection. These households are now in rent arrears and were last week given one month’s notice to quit.

Permission was initially granted by the council for 27 apartments at the site of the former Liffey Valley Fitness premises, in September 2016. However up to 48 apartments were built.

In May 2017 developer Cavvies Ltd applied for permission for “a total of 48 residential units [40 two-bed apartments, four one-bedroom apartments and four studios] . . . with 52 car parking spaces” at the site. The council refused in August 2017.

Cavvies Ltd appealed this to An Bord Pleanála on August 3rd, 2017. A decision to refuse was issued at the end of last week.

It appears that not only the additional 21 apartments have been refused, but all 48 as they are deemed too small.

The refusal states: “The proposed development, by reason of its design and layout would result in substandard accommodation and inadequate residential amenity for future residents.

“In particular, having regard to the inadequate floor to ceiling heights at ground and first floor level; the high percentage of single aspect units and the poor internal layout and, in particular, the substandard widths of the living rooms serving the two bedroom units it is considered that the proposed development would be contrary to the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments Guidelines for Planning Authorities issued by the Department of Housing in March, 2018.”

Sinn Féin spokesman on housing Eoin Ó Broin, a local TD, said he had been in contact with the council and Department of Housing over the weekend. He is due meet them Monday morning.

“I will be asking them to see that this is not just a planning enforcement issue but a serious housing issue. We need the council working with these families to assist them finding housing. What we cannot have is 44 families coming into homelessness next month.”

He has called a meeting of residents, council and departmental officials for Monday afternoon.

Among those affected is a single father of two young children, who did not want to give his name. He moved in on February 1st, the apartment’s first let. He is working and was approved for housing assistance payment. His forms, however, were not processed for the Larkfield House address.

“I’m very, very concerned. I told my daughters over the weekend it looks like we won’t be able to stay and they were just crying. They love it here.

“What I’d love is if the council could come in, take it over and put it right, and we could rent from the council. It seems like an awful waste of over 40 homes.”

A council spokeswoman said it “has receipt of the decision of the board and the reasons for the decision. We are examining the situation in conjunction with Dublin Region Homeless Executive and Department of Housing in relation to homeless clients who are already renting in the property.”

Cavvies Ltd did not respond to requests for a comment.