Build-to-rent apartment scheme opposed by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald is refused planning permission


Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has emerged victorious in her opposition to plans for a 117 unit ‘build to rent’ apartment scheme on the site of a former pub in Dublin.

his follows An Bord Pleanála refusing planning permission to R&D Developments Ltd for the 67 one-bed unit and 50 two-bed unit apartment scheme on the site of the former put Matt’s of Cabra on Faussagh Avenue.

Ms McDonald’s opposition was based on her concerns over the build to rent model.

The appeals board has refused planning permission on the planning merits of the scheme.

Planning consultants for R&D Developments Ltd, Thornton O’Connor Town Planning, contended that the scheme would provide suitable alternative housing accommodation types for people seeking residential accommodation in Dublin and would represent a significant investment in a strategically located site.

However, in her objection Ms McDonald argued that the development did not meet the needs of the local community, nor did it foster active citizenship.

“Build to rent developments are about maximising profits for developers through inflated rental costs which in turn pushes up the value of land and house price inflation in the city,” she said.

The Sinn Féin leader said that to support this point there is an approved 485-bed build to rent scheme for another site in Cabra where rents are now advertised from €1,895 to €2,675 per month.

She stated: “It is a reality that ‘build to rent’ homes are unaffordable for families and workers, including those from the local community in Cabra. Approval of additional ‘build to rent’ supply will further increase rental prices and house price inflation.”

She also pointed out that “as of January 2022, there are over 2,000 applications with Dublin City Council waiting to be housed for Area E which incorporates Cabra.

“Delivery of more ‘build to rent’ properties does not meet this housing need and will further disenfranchise the local community.”

Ms McDonald stated that “this excessive provision of build to rent units and the absence of social homes and affordable and cost rental homes is in contravention of the Government’s Housing First policy commitments”.

The scheme also faced opposition from a number of local residents.

In its formal refusal, the appeals board said the scheme would represent a visually prominent and monolithic form of development.

It also concluded that the scheme would be visually obtrusive and seriously detract from the visual amenities of the area.

It also refused planning permission after finding the scheme would fail to provide an adequate level of residential amenities for future occupants. The board made this finding due to the number of single aspect apartments in the scheme, the design of excessively long internal corridors with lack of natural light and adequate ventilation and overlooking between apartments.

On another ground for refusing planning permission, the board found there was a failure of a number of apartments to reach minimum daylight target standards and would result in poor residential amenities for future residents.

The board’s refusal followed a recommendation by Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission.

Separately, the appeals board has also refused planning permission for a development of 171 units at a site 10km south east of Cork city at Lackaroe and Monkstown, Passage West.

The scheme – which faced local opposition – was made up of 145 houses and 26 apartments. The appeals board refused planning permission after concluding that the scheme would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard.

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