An Bord Pleanála has given the go-ahead to the Gillick brothers to construct around 450 build-to-rent apartments on the former Chivers site at Coolock in Dublin.
The appeals board approved Andrew and Maurice Gillick’s Platinum Land Ltd for their apartment plan in spite of the strong recommendation by its own inspector to refuse planning.
The proposal was opposed by a number of members of Dublin City Council, Tommy Broughan TD, the Coolock Residents Association, and a number of locals.
The apartments are to be contained in four tower blocks including one that is nine storeys high.
The Gillicks had proposed a 10-storey block at 100ft - almost double the maximum height of 52.5ft permitted in the area under the Dublin City Development Plan.
However, the appeals board stated that the grant of permission for the highest tower at nine storeys is warranted following the publication by Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy of new building height guidelines last December.
Deputy Broughan claimed that the design, scale and mass of the development is reminiscent of previous developments built in Ballymun and Kilbarrack which were not successful.
Cllr Alison Glliland (Lab) told the board that the maximum allowable height for the site is five storeys and that 10 storeys will have significant impact on the skyline.
Cllr Larry O’Toole (SF) and Cllr John Lyons (Ind) also voiced their opposition to the plan with Cllr Lyons stating that the proposal, if granted, would destroy the low-rise character of the Coolock area.
In her recommendation at the end of a 72-page report, board inspector Joanna Kelly stated that having regard to the location of the site at a remove from the city centre or major employment centres, the scale and density of the proposal is premature pending the provision of a master plan.
Ms Kelly also concluded that the proposal would set an undesirable precedent for developments of similar densities in suburban locations in the absence of a commensurate level of social and physical infrastructure including employment opportunities to support the increased population levels.
Ms Kelly also recommended refusal on the grounds that the arrangement of the proposed blocks and overall design of the scheme "is monolithic and would set an undesirable precedent for the repetition of this proposed form".
However, the appeals board overruled its inspector citing in part the new building height guidelines.
The board also had regard to the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness 2016, the residential zoning of the site, and the site’s location within the built-up area of Dublin in proximity to a range of services and facilities including the bus corridor.
The board granted planning permission after finding that the development would make a positive contribution to the urban character of the area, would not seriously injure the residential amenities of property in the vicinity, and would be acceptable in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety and convenience.
In deciding not to accept the inspector's recommendation to refuse permission, the Board stated that the proposal was located within sufficient distance of several major employment centres including Beaumont Hospital and the city centre.
The board stated that it did not accept the inspector’s view that the arrangement of the proposed blocks and overall design is monolithic.
The board also concluded that the proposed development would not set an undesirable precedent for similar developments.