Cllr Oisín O'Connor

Green Party Councillor for Glencullen-Sandyford, including Ballinteer, Stepaside, Kilternan, Leopardstown, Ballyogan & Glenamuck

Planning permission has been granted by An Bord Pleanála, the national planning appeal board, for 49 apartments and a “wine bar” on the site where the Coach House in Ballinteer currently stands. The application was previously rejected by the planners in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council back in 2021.

When the applicants (a company called Thornhart Ltd) appealed the council’s decision, they also made some changes to the original plans. I wrote a post explaining the applicant’s original plans here. The main changes from the original plans were:

  • removal of the undercroft parking and replacement with 3 new ground floor apartments
  • an underground basement car park for residents and staff of the adjacent Ballinteer Business Centre
  • a reduction in height from 5 to 4 storeys of Block A, the closest to the front of the site facing onto Ballinteer Avenue. The 4th storey, as proposed, is “set back” from the main face of the building, so the part immediately on the road and facing next door is 3 storeys.
  • the consolidation and increase in the total area of the public open space on the site next to the proposed apartment buildings.

Appeal application

The appeal that was lodged included a number of new plans which I have linked below:

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Timeline

  • January 2021: Thornhart lodged the initial planning application with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for 54 apartments and a wine bar.
  • March 2021: The application was refused by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (decision letter here)
  • March 2021: The applicant appealed the Coach House decision, with an amended planning application.
  • November 2023: An Bord Pleanála issued a letter granting permission to the Coach House development, based on the amended planning application for 49 apartments and a wine bar.

FAQs

I don’t have any inside knowledge on this application, but I have a few questions I’ve been asked and seen asked about it. So I’ll try to help out by answering them here. If you have any more questions, I’d be happy to find out the answers for you and post them here too.

All decisions by An Bord Pleanála are open for judicial review. You can see more details on that here.

That is between the landowner and the businesses renting the premises as private landlord-tenant relationships. Almost the whole site is zoned as “Neighbourhood Centre” which requires it to retain a minimum amount of local businesses. The main building of the Ballinteer Business Centre is not included in this planning application so the building wouldn’t be directly affected.

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It’s not clear. Under the planning permission that’s now in place, the owner could sell each apartment individually, or rent them all out, or do a mixture of the two. The only requirement for them is to sell 10% of the apartments to the council for social housing under Part V of the Planning Act.

That would be up to the landowners. The planning permission expires after 5 years. Typically you would see it take at least one year after getting planning permission before any developer starts works.

The initial planning application had 48 car parking spaces for residents of 54 apartments. The planning granted on appeal has 58 car parking spaces for 49 apartments. It’s not really possible to know how much car parking residents will need in the future, but this does seem balanced. Car ownership rates are lower for people who live in 1/2-bed apartments than in 3/4-bed houses.

The initial planning application had 39 car parking spaces for commercial use (33 in the front car park and 6 in the rear car park). The planning granted on appeal has 49 car parking spaces (27 in the front car park, 10 in the rear car park and 12 in the basement car park for staff). This does seem tight, and would still be a reduction on what’s currently there, but it’s hard to tell how things might change over the coming years (more shopping deliveries, people shopping more locally etc.)

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Condition 10 of ABP’s decision allows construction to take place between 7am-7pm Monday to Friday and 8am-2pm on Saturdays, with no construction activity allowed on Sundays or public holidays. Before commencing, the developer has to have a Construction Management Plan (CMP) including noise, dust and road safety aspects, approved by the council’s Planning team. I have seen some of these CMPs rejected over the years for not being complete enough and the council are fairly swift to issue warnings and prosecutions if the CMP isn’t kept to.

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