Thursday, 11 April 2019

Proposed Development at Bill Sheehan Motors Site: TRA Appeal to An Bord Pleanála

The following is a copy of the observation sent by the Association to An Bord Pleanála:

            Dublin 6w,
The Secretary
An Bord Pleanála,
64 Marlborough St.
Dublin 1.                                                                                            

                                                                                                            10th April 2019

Observation in relation to Appeal No. 29S/303996  -  Dublin City  Planning Application No. 4702/18, 1-13 Templeogue Road, 2-6 Terenure Road West. Dublin 6w
Demolition of Existing Buildings  and Construction of 55 Unit Apartment Block

Dear Sir/Madam,

            This proposal is for the demolition of existing buildings at the above location and the construction of a six storey block containing 40 one bedroomed and fifteen two bedroomed apartments.  It would also contain three shops, a café and 37 underground car parking spaces.  The developers have appealed against Dublin City Council’s decision to refuse permission
Terenure Residents Association represents about 750 households in the area south, east and southwest of Terenure Cross, including those in the vicinity of the above site.  We wish to submit an observation on the developers’ appeal.  The required fee of €50 is enclosed.

We were astounded that the decision of the City Council has been appealed considering that it so comprehensively refused permission for the development.  The proposal had generated an enormous amount of concern among Terenure residents which is evidenced by the 180 letters of objection that were sent to the City Council and an attendance of over 150 at a public meeting.  On the understanding that An Bord Pleanála will have sight of these letters and because of the €50 fee required, it would not be logical to expect the same volume of observations on the appeal. 

We note that the developer has submitted a revised design as an alternative which reduces the building by one storey.  This would be a major change which we feel should have been the subject of a new application.  We query the validity of this procedure unless An Bord Pleanála requests a revision.  Apart from the height reduction, the alternative design does nothing to reduce the negative impact the building would have on the character of the area. 

Our comments on the developer’s appeal are as follows

Visually Intrusive and Overbearing
The design of the building is very much a block which is slab like in appearance. That applies to the five storey version as much as the six storey one.  Its design and materials are not in any way compatible with the neighbouring buildings.  The appeal has not in any way addressed the criticism of the position of the building on the site, flush with the pavement.  This is very much forward of the building line of Templeogue Road and will present a very unfavourable looking “gateway” to Terenure.  It will have a domineering effect on the road and surrounding properties.  The appellant disagrees with the City Council’s designation of the development as “infill”.  We would support the Council’s view on this as the site is effectively a vacant one at the end of a road with two storey houses.  The appellant claims that the street is devoid of character and, by implication, that there is no need for a sympathetic building.   This assumption completely ignores the red brick buildings on Terenure Place and across the road on Terenure Road West.  A building or buildings in harmony with these set back from the road, would be much more acceptable.  The statements in the appeal about the present use of the site are nonsense.  It has, for a long time been an “opportunity” site, in use on a temporary basis as a car sales area.  This site is very much part of the Village of Terenure.  It is in a very prominent location at one end of the junction complex of five main roads around which the village has developed.  This is very much an opportunity site, and one which’ because of its location, should be treated in a way that will produce an iconic landmark development that will enhance the fabric of Terenure Village and become a focal point.  We submit that this proposal does not, in any way, fulfil this requirement and would disagree with the appellant’s claim that it does.   In fact, it would have the opposite impact.

            Height of Building
The proposed building is 21 metres high or 18m. if they go for the alternative plan.  The Dublin City Development Plan allows a maximum height of 16 metres.  The appellant makes use of  the December 2018 document “Guidelines on Urban Development and Building Height” which does take  precedence over Development Plans,  However, we submit that this location is a totally inappropriate place to invoke the new guidelines,   It is really a suburban centre rather that an urban one.  Paragraphs. 2.7 and 2.8 of the above document state that the Planning Authority must determine if increased building height is an appropriate typology, or not, in a particular setting, and that environmental sensitivities of the receiving environment must be considered.  No building in the immediate vicinity is more than two storeys and most of these are of redbrick, historical design.   The site is too small and constrained by the surrounding environment to be considered suitable for this type of development as described in Section 2.11.  For these reasons we agree with City Council’s decision on this one.  It is an area which is never going to develop into a higher rise location with any more similar tall buildings, so the proposed building, at either height, if allowed, will stand out, as the proverbial sore thumb, for ever.   It is obvious that the developers originally intended the five storey version of the building but altered their plans at the last minute to take advantage of the new guidelines.  Surely it is unreasonable to apply these guidelines in such a sensitive area and before the City Council has issued any local interpretation of them

Inadequate Transition in Scale
We disagree with the appellant’s claim that “the building will successfully integrate with the surrounding environment”.   Overlooking of houses on the south east side of Templeogue Road has not been dealt with and the domineering impact of the development on No, 15 Templeogue Road. is not in any way mitigated with the 5 storey alternative.  No mention is made of impact on Olney Crescent.  There is still an abrupt transition in scale when viewed north-eastward from Templeogue Road, both by virtue of the increase from 2 to 5 or six storeys and the position on site of the building flush with the pavement… The photographic montage view position on Templeogue Road in the original submission is so far away that it does not in any way show the impact of the proposed building on Terenure Place.

Other Points – Car Parking
No attempt has been made in the appeal to come to terms with City council’s views on the inadequate provision for car parking.  We are very concerned about cars owned by apartment residents which are not allocated one of the 37 parking places provided.  This applies even in the context of the reduced height building.  Most of the surrounding residential roads have metered parking and many houses have no off street parking.  There is almost no space available for overspill from the proposed development. 

There is no provision for a pull in area for the proposed shops.  This would need to be somewhat off street or with a turn back possibility if the Busconnects plan is implemented as presently proposed.
            The proposal calls for the destruction of the last remaining section of the circle of houses which date from 1801 and gave Terenure its old name of Roundtown.  A similar situation arose when Aldi was building a supermarket on the old tramway depot nearby.  They acceded to a request to preserve the outline and materials of the old building, While we appreciate that the round house is not a listed building it should be preserved as part of the heritage of Terenure.   The City Council planner’s report refers to this.

Proposed use of Building
Terenure is an area where there are many big old houses.  A lot of these have only one or two elderly people living in them.  There is a major requirement for suitable “step down” accommodation to which these people could move without having to leave the area.  Also, Terenure is very much a family-oriented area with plenty of schools etc.  The proposed mix of accommodation will not cater for either of these needs as it would be directed at single working people.  While there is an undoubted need for such accommodation, we submit that a more settled population would make a much better contribution to community life in Terenure.

While as noted above, there is unlikely to be a similar building proposed for Terenure Village, permission for the above proposal would set a very bad precedent and encourage unsuitable developments in the immediate area.

Because of its size, height and general incompatibility with the heritage ambience of Terenure, we request that the proposal be refused planning permission.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Dowling,   Committee Member in charge of Planning

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Annual General Meeting - Tuesday 16 April at 7.30pm at St. Joseph's Parish Hall

The Terenure Residents' Association AGM will be held on

Tuesday 16th April 2019
at 7.30pm
in St. Joseph's Parish Hall, Terenure
(behind St. Joseph's school/church, access from Beechlawn Way by Lidl, free parking available)

All residents in our area (map here) are invited to attend. Public Representatives and the Gardai will be in attendance. Refreshments will be available.

Please consider helping to represent your area by offering your services on the committee.  The committee meets once a month in the evening for 9 months of the year, each meeting typically lasting 90 minutes.