Rath­gar scheme’s res­i­dents take steps against Cairn

Mar­i­anella com­mit­tee gath­ers €11,000 to fight strate­gic hous­ing ap­pli­ca­tion Cairn had plan­ning per­mis­sion for 22 town houses but now seeks to build apart­ments

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS - PETER HAMIL­TON

A group of res­i­dents in a Rath­gar de­vel­op­ment have hired a plan­ner and bar­ris­ter to op­pose Cairn Homes’s plans for a site on their es­tate.

Cairn Homes had plan­ning per­mis­sion for 22 town houses but is now seek­ing to build apart­ments in­stead on the Mar­i­anella site.

The Ir­ish-listed build­ing firm has ap­plied to de­velop 107 res­i­den­tial apart­ments across two blocks, one of which is five storeys and the other six. Ad­di­tion­ally, it will build 72 car-park­ing spa­ces. How­ever, the deficit of car-park­ing spa­ces to apart­ments has prompted res­i­dents to fear that Cairn Homes plans to sell the en­tire block to an in­vestor, rather than sell to in­di­vid­ual buy­ers.

In­sti­tu­tional in­vestor

Cairn has pre­vi­ously said it “has not en­tered ne­go­ti­a­tions or agreed to sell any part of the de­vel­op­ment to an in­sti­tu­tional in­vestor or pri­vate op­er­a­tor”.

Nev­er­the­less, res­i­dents in the Rath­gar, Dublin 6, de­vel­op­ment have a “feel­ing of re­sent­ment against Cairn” given the change to plans for the site, ac­cord­ing to Conor Sex­ton, a res­i­dent rep­re­sent­ing the Mar­i­anella Own­ers’ Com­mit­tee.

To that end, they have raised about €11,000 to op­pose Cairn’s plan which has been sub­mit­ted as a strate­gic hous­ing de­vel­op­ment, a sta­tus that gives it fast-track plan­ning.

One res­i­dent, who asked not to be named, said the amount those liv­ing in the de­vel­op­ment were asked to give was €200 each. While the res­i­dent said it was “worth a shot” to lodge the op­po­si­tion, they added that there were no plans to give more money to the cause.

The sums of money in­volved sug­gest res­i­dents in about 55 units con­trib­uted in the de­vel­op­ment where in ex­cess of 200 units have been sold.

How­ever, Mr Sex­ton said there’s an “over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity [of res­i­dents] in agree­ment” with fight­ing Cairn’s ap­pli­ca­tion.

A plan­ner, a bar­ris­ter and a pho­tog­ra­pher have all been en­gaged to op­pose the de­vel­oper’s plan­ning sub­mis­sion.

“Ev­ery­body is ex­tremely an­noyed at the prospect on the ba­sis that Cairn sold the apart­ments with 22 houses on the site. If peo­ple knew orig­i­nally there wouldn’t be the same level of dis­con­tent,” Mr Sex­ton said.

He added that if they’re un­suc­cess­ful with their op­po­si­tion to the plans, “we’ll go to the bit­ter end”, in­di­cat­ing they may con­sider fur­ther ac­tion.

“The ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents have been sup­port­ive,” he said, adding that if the own­ers’ com­mit­tee needs more funds, “I don’t think we’ll have a prob­lem”.

‘In­ci­den­tal ac­tiv­i­ties’

Given the fact that Cairn’s pro­posed de­vel­op­ment is on for­mer monastery lands they are zoned as “in­sti­tu­tional”. In­sti­tu­tional lands of­ten pro­vide “an­cil­lary and in­ci­den­tal ac­tiv­i­ties for the lo­cal com­mu­nity”, ac­cord­ing to Dublin City Coun­cil’s de­vel­op­ment plan.

Res­i­dents are hop­ing that the house­builder will con­sider re­mov­ing sur­face-level park­ing and put in an un­der­ground car park to re­tain green space on the site. Al­ter­na­tively, they want Cairn to re­duce the vol­ume of apart­ments planned for the de­vel­op­ment.

Mar­i­anella res­i­dents have un­til Jan­uary 14th to lodge sub­mis­sions on the plans and An Bord Pleanála will make a de­ci­sion on the ap­pli­ca­tion by April 1st.

‘‘ Res­i­dents fear that Cairn Homes plans to sell the en­tire block to an in­vestor

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