Badgers, bats and otters put paid to €60m Royal Canal bank apartment scheme

The proposed scheme faced widespread opposition in the area with over 180 objections lodged against the proposal
Badgers, bats and otters put paid to €60m Royal Canal bank apartment scheme

Gordon Deegan

Protected badgers, bats and otters have helped put paid to a ‘fast track’ €60 million apartment scheme planned for the banks of the Royal Canal on Dublin’s northside.

This follows An Bord Pleanála refusing planning permission to a Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme by OSH Ventures Ltd to construct a 198 unit ‘build to rent’ scheme at Kellystown, Clonsilla, Dublin 15.

The scheme was to comprise eight blocks ranging from four to seven storeys in height.

The proposed scheme faced widespread opposition in the area with over 180 objections lodged against the proposal.

In refusing planning permission for the scheme, the appeals board stated that planning permission would be premature pending further ecological assessments of protected species, the badger, the Daubenton’s bat and otters at the site.

Vegetation and trees

The appeals board also refused permission after concluding that the scale and positioning of the blocks directly over the Royal Canal Bank and the removal of a significant amount of vegetation and trees along this area would adversely alter the character of the location.

The appeals board point out that the Royal Canal is a protected structure and a Natural Heritage Area (NHA).

The decision to refuse follows Fingal County Council recommending that planning permission be refused under four separate headings.

One of those to express concerns over the scheme was the Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman.

In his submission made with two local party councillors, Mr O’Gorman told the appeals board that “the height of the apartment blocks will result in them towering over the Royal Canal towpath and waterway, meaning that they will dominate this section of the Royal Canal, and isolate it from the Old Schoolhouse site".

They state: “Our biggest concern is based on the fact that large proportion of SHDs which are granted planning remain unbuilt."

Greenway

They go on to state that they have “serious concerns that a section of the Royal Canal Greenway could remain uncompleted if this site is not developed in the case of planning permission being given, as happens, in a large percentage of cases”.

In his objection, TD Paul Donnelly told the appeals board that the scheme “is completely unacceptable and should not be given planning permission by An Bord Pleanála”.

Concerning the presence of badgers at the site, An Bord Pleanála inspector Daire McDevitt stated that National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff identified evidence of badger foraging on the proposed development site in the form of badger feeding/nuzzle holes.

The inspector stated that it is strongly suspected that there is a badger sett in the eastern part of the site.

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