Proposed development at Foster Avenue, Mount Merrion denied by ABP

by Gary Ibbotson
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An Bord Pleanala has this week refused planning permission for a Strategic Housing Development (SHD) on Foster Avenue, Mount Merrion.

The development comprised of 123 build-to-rent apartments and other facilities.

Independent councillor and Leas Cathaoirleach, Deirdre Donnelly has welcomed the decision to reject permission and says, “we should not encourage this model of housing.”

“Owning your own home is out of reach for many young couples today and this kind of build to rent scheme exacerbates the problem by keeping them out of the property purchase market,” she says.

The Mount Merrion application was submitted earlier in the year as part of the SHD scheme which allows developers to bypass local authorities and file a planning application with ABP if more than 100 residential units are proposed.

Cllr Donnelly says she has concerns with the SHD model and welcomes the upcoming review.

“This is a totally undemocratic process whereby the residents in a particular area are denied the opportunity to make a submission to their local council’s planning department.

“In my opinion this encourages developers to apply for larger numbers of smaller dwellings which are totally unsuitable to live in permanently.

“A review of the SHD scheme has gone out to public consultation until July 25th and I would encourage as many people as possible to make a submission asking for this to be scheme to be abolished,” she says.

Two public meetings were organised earlier in the year to discuss the Foster Avenue proposition and Cllr Donnelly says that such developments ignore the need of elderly residents in the area.

One attendee at the meetings was Teresa Hussey, one of Mount Merrion’s oldest residents and potentially most affected by the development as her garden borders the site of the proposed scheme.

“Hussey is in her 90s,” says Cllr Donnelly.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful that no regard has been given to the residents in the area particularly those who have lived there most of their lives”, she says.

“I am not opposed to development but it should be in keeping with the area and take the needs of residents into account.

“Downsizing for the elderly should be a priority as well as homes for first time buyers who want to get on the property ladder and own their own place.”

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