Urban field bought back for less than half sale price


LAND ON an urban farm in Dublin that was sold to developers for €16 million at the height of the boom has been bought back for less than half the price.

Airfield Trust, which runs Airfield farm and gardens in Dundrum, yesterday announced it bought back Dudley’s Field, 3.5 acres it sold in 2005 to developers Colum and Ciarán Butler.

It did not reveal the price it paid, but it is understood to be less than €8 million.

In 2005 the sale of the field attracted strong local opposition, and planning applications made by Cicol Ltd to develop the property were rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

The trust was set up in 1993 to administer the estate and wishes of the late Letitia and Naomi Overend. The sisters lived most of their lives on the estate and left it in trust for use by Dublin’s people.

The estate is closed for renovations and will reopen in 2013. Some €10 million is being invested in facilities there, which will include a new farm centre, a new three-acre horticultural experience with display gardens, vegetable gardens and kitchen gardens, and an upgrade and conservation of Airfield House.

Glenbeigh Construction is carrying out the work.

Airfield director Kathy Purcell said work was well under way to redevelop the estate, and, when completed, would make Airfield “one of the foremost visitor destinations in the country”.

“We will reopen to the public in 2013 and the new facilities will also include a new cafe, retail space and extensive parking arrangements. We’re also going to show much more from the Overend archive, which should be of great local and national interest.”

Ms Purcell said Dudley’s Field was sold in 2005 to raise funds to make the estate “self-sustaining and self-financing”, but recent circumstances allowed it to be bought back “on favourable terms”, which was “great news”.

“We’ll integrate it back into the estate and use it to enhance the visitor experience even more when Airfield reopens.”