Mount Merrion delight as Union Cafe plans halted

by Aisling Kennedy
safety campaign

VICTORY has been declared for Mount Merrion locals as the widely-condemned Union Cafe development has been given the red light.
After being refused planning permission by the county, the developer – Greg Kavanagh – appealed to An Bord Pleanala, who upheld the council’s initial decision.
The Mount Merrion Residents’ Association group say that they are happy with this “good news”.
The proposed development – a mixed retail and residential apartment scheme – was considered by the council’s planning department, who refused to grant it planning permission.
Grounds for refusal included its scale, siting, layout, bulk and height of the development, which it found would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
Spokesperson for the group, Tom Fahey, thanked his neighbours for their support.
Nearly 340 residents objected to the plans because they were “wrong for Mount Merrion and for most residents”.
Fahey said: “We believe that most residents would support an appropriate redevelopment of that site; [one] which takes account the concerns and aspirations of local residents.”
Locals say that they are not against developments in the area as long as they are “suitable for the area and fit in with the community”.
Local TD and Minister for Transport Shane Ross welcomed the decision, along with Cllr Deirdre Donnelly (Ind).
Minister Ross said: “I am heartened the An Bord Pleanala decision recognised that the proposal would detract from the area.”
Cllr Donnelly added: “The size of the proposed retail outlet was too big for the area.”
Local TD and resident Josepha Madigan (FG) said the Bord’s decision is a “victory” for locals, and also added that the development was “simply not in keeping with the local community”.
She said: “The proposed development, of 15,800sq m, would have dominated the landscape in Mount Merrion and significantly altered the character of a mature neighbourhood of family homes.
“It is fantastic to see that a strong campaign, where an active residents’ association has worked closely with public representatives, has borne fruit – David has defeated Goliath.”

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