ABP gives go-ahead for 400 new homes in Newcastle

by Padraig Conlon

Planning permission has been secured for a major new housing development which will provide almost 400 homes in Newcastle.

This is after An Bord Pleanala (ABP) approved the plans by Cairn Homes for the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) on more than 16 hectares in Newcastle under the fast-track planning system.

APB rejected the recommendation of its own inspector that the plans for the 380 homes, with a creche, commercial unit and public park, should be refused.

Cairn Homes, one of Ireland’s largest housebuilders, owns 70 acres of land in Newcastle and has been in consultation with ABP over the past few years about starting development on the site.

The company, which is headed by Michael Stanley, has secured permission for several other projects through the SHD system.

The Newcastle development will have 248 houses, 36 duplexes and 36 apartments on the main site, with 50 other units on three smaller sites at the corner of Burgage Street and Newcastle Boulevard.

The development will also reserve a site for a new school.

Twenty-six houses originally proposed by Cairn Homes should be omitted from the scheme, with their site instead developed as public open space.

The ABP inspector had recommended that planning permission for the development be refused because of its adverse impact on biodiversity due to the removal of two large sections of 700-year old hedgerows as well as its negative impact on landscape and views.

The inspector questioned why the hedges, also known as castle gardens, were of such national importance that they initially ran on areas reserved for residential development.

The inspector claimed that the loss of important medieval landscape elements could have been avoided with a “more creative design”.

However, ABP said that, subject to a number of planning conditions, the development was acceptable in terms of design, form and layout.

They also said the retention of other sections of historic hedgerows and the reinstatement of other hedgerows would result in an overall increase in new landscaping and tree planting.

It claimed the hedgerows earmarked for removal had “minimal arboricultural value” and the proposed development adequately integrated historic hedgerows into the layout of the scheme.

Several submissions were received from current residents of Newcastle, as well as local politicians, with many saying they had no objection to the development, but they did have concerns over some details of the plans.

South Dublin County Council had also recommended that planning approval should be given for the project.

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