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Planning News from Dublin, Cork and Kerry

Updated: Mar 13

Merchant's Quay, Cork city. Image by Dave Skinner from Pixabay.

Item 1 - The Old Custom House Cork:

11th November, 2020 - Plans for "Ireland's tallest building" (Irish Examiner) to be built in Cork city have been delayed following a planning appeal. Planning Permission was granted in October by Cork City Council to the Tower Holdings Group for the €150 million, 140-metre hotel, as the development is located on Custom House Quay, Cork, the complex will be built on land owned by the state. Cork's Custom House was designed by William Hargrave in 1881 and built at Custom House Street, itself located between the north and south channels of the Cork's River Lee.

The new tower will ‘incorporate’ the Custom House, meaning it will sit directly astride the building making the old building a minor feature of the tower itself. An appeal of the council's decision by the

Irish Georgian Society was lodged with An Bord Pleánala. In their original submission to Cork City Council, the society stated that the demolition of certain buildings on the site could "set a very worrying precedent for similar proposals”. A final decision on the case will be made on March 22nd 2021. Item 2 - 611 Apartments on Montrose Lands:

16th September 2020 -

An Bord Pleanála has granted permission to Cairn Homes for a large apartment complex on former RTÉ (state-owned) lands at Montrose in Dublin 4. The plan is for 611 apartments in nine apartment blocks ranging from four to 10 storeys in height. 19 objections were lodged against the plan, fast - tracked through the strategic Housing Development (SHD) application process. Cost of Montrose site:

Cairn Homes paid RTÉ €107.5 million for the 8.64 acre site. - The planning board considered the development: “to be of strategic and national importance having regard to the definition of strategic housing development….and its potential to contribute to the achievement of the Government’s policy to increase delivery of housing from its current under supply set out in

Rebuilding Ireland”. The purpose of the 2018 regulations drafted by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government was to ensure uniform guidelines for local authorities for apartment development. These new Guidelines update the 2015 apartment provisions which nonetheless remain valid, ‘

particularly with regard to design quality safeguards such as internal space standards for 1-,2- and 3-bedroom apartments, internal storage and amenity space.’ Rebuilding Ireland”: These guidelines update previous guidance for ‘future housing demand in Ireland ’ of the Housing Agency, National Statement on Housing Demand and Supply, the Government’s action programme on housing and homelessness Rebuilding Ireland / Project Ireland 2040 and the National Planning Framework.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan or (RIHL) scheme is framed as an anti-homelessness measure, to facilitate first-time buyers who earn too much to qualify for social housing, but too little to get a sufficient mortgage from a bank to buy their own home. Nevertheless, almost three-fifths of applications for a RIHL have been turned down or deemed invalid. The planning permission now enables Cairn Homes to enter talks with Dublin City Council over its proposal to sell 61 of the apartments in the plan to the authority for €30.17 million to comply with Part V social housing obligations. The documentation lodged with the application puts a value of €521,377 on the two-bed apartments and €472,797 on the one-bed apartments. Dublin City Council:

Some councillors expressed ‘serious reservations’ over ' Project Montrose.' The city council planners stated that they agreed with the developers that the location allows for taller buildings along the

Stillorgan Road, once permission was granted at Montrose.

Item 3 - The South Kerry Greenway Project:

November 12th 2020 -

Planning permission has been granted by An Bord Pleanala to construct a 32-km paved greenway in south Kerry along the former Ring of Kerry railroad. Kerry County Council also got clearance to compulsory purchase more than 220 landholdings from 200 landowners across 27 townlands. The application by Kerry County Council, under the Roads Act, to build a three metre wide paved surface, had run to a lengthy oral hearing began a year ago in Tralee. Planning Objections: Objections were issued by a number of farmers and environmentalists. A compulsory purchase order , was made under the powers of the Housing Acts for this greenway. Cost: With a projected cost of 20 million euro, the greenway is a large-scale construction project. It is stated that some of the most impressive engineering structures of the old line, with its panoramic views over the Atlantic - the Caherisveen Railway bridge, the Gleensk viaduct and the Drung Hill Tunnels are to be repaired, if possible.

'Greenway' Infrastructure: There will be extensive works required, including underpass around the N70, which is a

national secondary road, at Gortnagree and a new bridge at Kilkeehagh/Gleensk, among other works. This greenway will run along the disused railway line from Glenbeigh to Caherciveen and will be a three-metre-wide paved stretch of "roadway" across the old line. The section of the greenway through the town of Cahirciveen will mean a widened carriageway on Quay Street and Marina Road. -

Item 4 -

The Cork and Youghal Railway line: 16th November 2020 -The Department of Transport has announced €64.5m in funding for 15 greenway projects currently under construction across the country. One of these is the Midleton to Youghal Greenway in Co Cork (€10 million) to be built over the old Youghal line. The Youghal line is a short 27 miles (43 km) railway built in the early 1860s in Ireland linking

Cork to the east Cork town of Youghal.

The terminus was located at Kent Station, Cork, with a connection at Penrose Quay, which was closed in 1893. Before its closure in 1963, the line brought thousands of tourists to Youghal town. Passenger trains ceased in 1963, with a freight train service operating until the mid-1980s. -

Youghal to Midleton Route: The Cork to Youghal Railway, line has never been legally closed. Youghal station itself is disused, Since 1988 Iarnród Éireann has showed little or no interest in the line. In 1992 seven miles of track between Midleton and Youghal were removed elsewhere. There was a small minority that were talking about bringing back the railway from a nostalgia point of view but from an economic benefit the greenway is probably 100 times more of benefit to us than the railway would ever have been.” -

In addition, Cork County Council has announced additional funding announced for the Midleton Youghal greenway. The overall funding secured by Cork County Council for the development stands at €19.8 million. -

In July 2015, Irish Rail stated that they had no intention of re-opening the Youghal line. The Kent Station construction project, (a combined effort with CIE, which now regards itself as a property company), includes the adjacent Penrose Quay site and former rail station.

State - owned lands which could have been the nucleus of a combined Central rail and bus station for Cork city have been granted to a multinational property corporation. 500 Apartments for Howth Road:

3rd November 2020- A local resident lost a challenge to the High Court to overturn planning permission by An Bord Pleanála’s for demolition on lands at Howth Road and construction of 512 apartments.for a development of more than 500 apartments in Howth, in Co Dublin. Last April 9th, An Bord Pleanála had approved a 512-apartment scheme in Howth - described at the time as ‘the second straight victory in the affluent Co Dublin fishing village for Pat Crean’s Marlet Group.’ -

Strategic housing: The Howth site was classified as a strategic housing development-type application: where the developer bypasses the local housing authority to seek permission directly from ABP. SHD is defined under section 3 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 as:(a) the development of 100 or more houses on land zoned for residential use or fora mixture of residential and other uses. -

Section 4(1) of the Planning and Development Act 2016 provides that an application for permission for a strategic housing development (SHD) shall be made directly toAn Bord Pleanála under this section and not to a Planning Authority. -

In fact, the Court dismissed all grounds of Mr Morris’ challenge, who had: • Failed to raise an identifiable issue in respect of an alleged failure by the planning board to have regard to the submissions made by objectors, including over the height and density of the development.

• The board and its inspector had engaged extensively with the question of whether a material contravention of the Fingal county development plan was justified in relation to this development and a material contravention was justified for reasons including the government’s policy, set out in

Rebuilding Ireland - to deliver housing.

• Mr Morris had not demonstrated that his concerns in relation to an inadequate flood risk assessment by the board were well-founded. Nor was there any basis for his claim the board did not have due regard to the Howth urban centre strategy or the Howth special amenity order

• Mr Morris was not prejudiced from making submissions concerning the development as a result of Fingal County Council having published an incorrect archaeological report, this did not impact on his ability to make submissions on the proposed development.

• Fingal Council is not required under the 2016 Act relating to strategic housing developments to place its reports concerning such developments on its official website. -

Item 5 - St. Anne's Park Raheny:

29th October 2020 - A 3rd legal challenge has been submitted to the High Court by environmentalist Peter Sweetman, over permission granted by An Bord Pleanala in August for a development of 657 apartments on lands near St Anne's Park in Raheny. Other challenges to the Raheny plan are by a local residents group, Clonres CLG, and by John Conway, an environmentalist from Dundalk, Co Louth, and the Louth Environment Group (LEG).

All three cases will be case-managed in the court’s Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID) list, which fast-tracks such developments. This allows developers to bypass the normal planning route to seek permission directly from the planning board: • The proposed development, on former lands of St Paul's College, Sybil Hill Road, Raheny, is by Crekav Trading GP Ltd, part of the Marlet group. The board had granted permission for the development in 2018. • Last June, ABP consented to an order removing its 2018 planning permission as it had not addressed requirements of the Habitats Directive in relation to an Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the impact of the development on feeding grounds of the light-bellied Brent goose and other protected bird species in Dublin Bay. The board was asked to reconsider the matter “in accordance with law”. On August 20 last, it granted permission, subject to 30 conditions. • Mr Sweetman, claimed the board’s decision was made contrary to EU and national law. The board, did not undertake an adequate AA as required by national law and the Habitats Directive and/or failed to comply with the Birds Directive. • The lands at issue are a significant foraging ground for an internationally important population of east Canadian high Arctic light-bellied Brent Geese and an important feeding ground for the curlew, black-tailed godwit, black-headed gull and oystercatcher, all protected under the Birds Directive.

• Sweetman is contending that the board failed to definitely establish the proposed development would not adversely impact on the nearby Bull Island special protection area. Sources:

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