Residential development in Balbriggan is shot down by Fingal County Council planners

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Fingal County Council has shot down a planning application for a residential development on what it described as a “strategically important” site in northwest Balbriggan.

s part of the first phase of a two-phase masterplan, Kinvara Properties Limited was seeking permission for ‘a residential and community services development’ at Flemington Lane. It would have seen the demolition of an existing derelict structure and the construction of 81 residential units on the site, which is zoned RA (residential area) and OS (open space).

It comprised 28 duplex units, with surface parking for 55 cars and 76 bicycle spaces. In addition, 11 two-bed, 35 three-bed and seven four-bed dwellings, serviced by 95 surface car parking spaces, were proposed.

The planning application, which was lodged on July 27, also included a children’s play area and the provision of a new access roadway from Flemington Lane, as well as public and communal open space.

However, earlier this month, Fingal County Council decided to refuse planning permission for the residential scheme.

The council noted that part of the proposed residential development was located on land zoned as open space. It said that as residential use class was not permitted under the OS zoning objective in the Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023, “the proposal would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.

Another reason for the refusal of planning permission was the absence of pedestrian and cycle infrastructure linking the site to Balbriggan town centre, in addition to the poor availability of public transport at the location. The council stated that the proposed development would be largely car-dependent and would promote “unsustainable transport modes”.

Fingal County Council said the 2.2-hectare site formed part of the Northwest Balbriggan Masterplan area and was “strategically important”. It believed that that proposed scheme, in the absence of a masterplan prepared by the planning authority, would represent “an ad-hoc, piecemeal approach” to the development of the area.

The council said the development – by reason of its road layout, dominance of surface carparking and lack of high-quality usable public open spaces – “does not represent a satisfactory urban design response for the site and would lead to conditions injurious to the residential amenities of future occupants”.

It found that proposals for the provision of an underground attenuation tank under public open space was not considered acceptable. The council also expressed concern about “overlooking opportunities” which it said would be “injurious” to future residents.

It added that no provision for communal open space had been made for the proposed duplex/apartment units. As such, it concluded that the development did not accord with the ‘2020 Design Standards for New Apartments – Guidelines for Planning Authorities’.

Cllr Tony Murphy (Ind) told Fingal Independent he had concerns about the lack of road infrastructure in the area and the scale and height of the proposed development.

“I’m not against housing development but would prefer to see three-bed family homes that are good value and typical of the estates you see throughout Balbriggan,” he said.