AN Bord Pleanála has received 16 submissions, most of them objections, on the proposed building of a 191-unit apartment complex up to nine storeys high in Blackpool.
The proposed Distillery Quarter development by Eichsfeld Limited would, if granted planning permission, see the conversion of Hewitt’s Mill, a 230-year-old former distillery, into apartments, and the building of two apartment blocks up to nine storeys high in front of the Revenue Commissioners’ offices, on Assumption Road.
A single apartment block of up to six storeys in height is proposed for a nearby, third parcel of land at Shandon Villa, Popes Hill Road.
The proposed build-to-let strategic housing development (SHD) of 191 apartments, overlooking the N20 in Blackpool, has attracted objections from local residents, heritage and community groups, as well as criticisms and observations from State agencies.
Under the Strategic Housing Initiative, which permits SHDs, and which is due to be phased out from next month, anyone planning to build more than 100 homes or 200 student beds in a single scheme can bypass local councils and apply directly to An Bord Pleanála.
Most objections to the Distillery Quarter proposals cited its lack of green space, and inadequate vehicular and pedestrian infrastructure in the proposed development.
Much attention focused on the 191-unit development having only 14 car parking spaces, seven of which would be reserved for disabled drivers, and the remainder of which would be for temporary use.
In its submission, the National Transport Authority (NTA) noted that the site is located 1.8km from Kent Station, 1.4km from the Bus Station, and 1.4km from Patrick Street, and is thus outside of the 800m walkability catchment defined under the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS).
The NTA added that the site is not currently served by high frequency public transport and there is currently no cycling infrastructure linking to the city.
“The NTA considers that the application has not clearly demonstrated how the proposed minimal level of parking will align with the policies of CMATS as well as statutory planning policy,” it said.
In its submission, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) reminded An Bord Pleanála that the planning authority would have to abide by official policy relating to developments on or affecting national roads.
TII added: “The Authority will entertain no future claims in respect of impacts (e.g. noise and visual) on the proposed development, if approved, due to the presence of the existing road or any new road scheme which is currently in planning”.
An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, said it was “very concerned” at proposed “significant adjustments” to Hewitt’s Mill and urged An Bord Pleanála to “condition appropriate amendments to ensure a sympathetic restoration and conversion of this historic structure.” Several objections also came from local residents.