Appeals board turns down 12 storey build to rent scheme for Dublin's Upper Abbey Street

The appeals board has refused planning to the scheme by Pat Crean’s Marlet Group due to a defect in the planning documentation lodged with the application.
Appeals board turns down 12 storey build to rent scheme for Dublin's Upper Abbey Street

Gordon Deegan

An Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission for a 12-storey 227 ‘build to rent’ apartment scheme for Dublin’s Upper Abbey Street.

The appeals board has refused planning to the scheme by Pat Crean’s Marlet Group due to a defect in the planning documentation lodged with the application.

The scheme is made up of 17 studios, 152 one-bedroom apartments and 58 two-bedroom apartments.

The appeals board ruled that the application didn’t contain a statement concerning the scheme materially contravening the Dublin City Development Plan.

The scheme materially contravened the City Development Plan as the number of one bedroom apartments at 67 pc exceeded the maximum allowed of 25pc to 30pc.

The board stated it is not open to it to grant planning permission where the statutory requirement concerning the material contravention has not been complied with.

'Soulless structure'

The scheme for 31 to 34 Upper Abbey Street and 42 to 51 Great Strand faced a small number of objections with objectors arguing that the build to rent model attracts a transient population and that the “soulless structure” proposed will detract from the streetscape and skyline of this area of Dublin.

However, the inspector in the case has provided fresh hope for the Marlet Group that it will obtain planning permission once it has overcome the statutory requirement issue in any fresh plans to be submitted.

The Marlet Group has been very active in the construction sector since 2014 and its projects at Mount Argus, Harold’s Cross; Charlemont Exchange; College House and The Sorting Office are all either under construction at present or have recently been completed.

Board inspector, Lorraine Dockery stated that she didn’t agree that the proposal will necessarily attract a transient population and no evidence has been put forward in the submissions to validate these claims.

Ms Dockery also stated that while undoubtedly visible “the proposal would not have such a detrimental impact on the character and setting of key landmarks and views within the city, as to warrant a refusal of permission”.

Ms Dockery stated that it is partly the mix of heights, architectural expression and uses that give the city centre its character.

She stated: “I have no doubt that the proposed development will add to this existing character, bringing a new dimension to this area of the city.”

Ms Dockery also stated that she was “satisfied with the height proposed, and I consider that the proposal does not represent over-development of the site”.

She stated: “This is a brownfield site in an inner city location, close to excellent public transport links.  I am of the opinion that the heights proposed are appropriate for this site, reflect the pattern of development recently granted within the wider area and that a suitable design rationale has been put forward”.

However, Ms Dockery said that it was not open to the board to grant planning permission over the material contravention issue.

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