Cllr John Walsh (Labour, Dublin West) is highly critical of a proposed development by Blanche Retail Nominee Ltd, which entails 971 apartments in tower blocks of up to 16 storeys at the Blanchardstown Town Centre.
Much to Cllr Walsh’s dismay, Fingal County Council granted permission for the large-scale residential development (LRD) to the company which runs the popular shopping centre in Blanchardstown.
Cllr Walsh calls on An Bord Pleanála to reject the development in its current form. Of the 971 housing units, there are 117 studios, 368 x one-beds, 422 x two-beds, and only 64 three-beds within the entire proposal.
Also included in the plan is a childcare facility, a community facility, some commercial units and a ‘place of worship’. Several high profile tenants at the Goldman Sachs owned centre have voiced their objection to the proposed development, among them Harvey Norman, TK Maxx, Smyth’s Toys, Elvery’s, Lifestyle Sports, Homestore & More and Woodies DIY.
“This type of high rise, tower block development is unsustainable, not supported by adequate community infrastructure and very damaging to quality of life both for potential residents and residents in existing local estates,” stated Cllr Walsh.
“Residents who contacted me are very worried at the height of this development and especially about having their homes overlooked and overshadowed.
“The tower blocks in this development range from eight to 16 storeys over basement – this is out of character with surrounding residential areas in Whitestown, Hillbrook, Sheepmoor and Blakestown.
“The high-rise apartment blocks will have a disastrous impact in overlooking neighbouring houses in Whitestown. The height of this development is visually intrusive and fundamentally wrong for the area. There is also great concern about safety and whether emergency services such as the fire brigade will be unable to access the higher floors of the tower blocks.”
FCC granted a ten-year planning permission for the LRD by the owners of the centre for lands at the White Car Park in Blanchardstown Town Centre.
Cllr Walsh criticised the very low level of social and affordable housing in the proposed development as well as the lack of new community and social infrastructure:
“There is no guarantee that there will be any affordable housing at all in this development other than the mandatory 10 per cent social housing requirement. Large-scale apartment developments usually consist of build to rent units which are out of reach for people on modest incomes.
“The vast majority of the units within this proposed development are studio, one or two bedroom apartments, which fails to provide decent, affordable homes for young families.”
The government’s Strategic Housing Development (SHD) initiative has seen many large developments approved by the Bord to meet Dublin’s growing housing demand. However, many resident and community groups in Donabate-Portrane will fight planning permission granted to Aledo for an SHD at Corbalis, and announced their intention to take a judicial review, as did residents near the Cross Guns development in Phibsboro and further groups in Baldoyle against a high rise development there.
John Walsh added: “It beggars belief that the towers in Ballymun were demolished some years back and now a 16 storey high rise development in Blanchardstown is being presented as the solution to the housing crisis!
“This is developer-led planning at its worst – it’s not just about Fingal Council but is a direct result of government planning decisions since 2018 which have opened the way for a free-for-all in high rise development. The planning authorities and the government have to do better to deliver affordable housing with decent infrastructure.’
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