Fears for future of Blackrock gate lodge

by Gary Ibbotson

Locals fear that a protected gate lodge in Blackrock could be removed as part of a larger development plan of high rise apartment blocks.

Built in 1862 shortly after the construction of the twin estates, Dunardagh and Craigmore, which subsequently became St Catherine’s and St Teresa’s, the gate lodge was included in the record of Protected Structures in 2015.

According to the relevant statutory provisions, a local authority cannot give permission for the demolition of a protected structure, “save in exceptional circumstances.”

However, planning permission has been filed with An Bord Pleanala that proposes the historic gate lodge be deconstructed and moved to another, yet unknown location.

The gate lodge currently lies at the entrance of the St Teresa’s estate which is the site earmarked for the new apartment blocks.

The applicants, Oval Target Limited says that their traffic report concludes that the “only way in which to afford safe access to these lands is by removing the gate-lodge” and the junction on which the gate lodge lies is “highly dangerous and does not meet pedestrian standards.”

However, local citizens and county councillors are objecting to the plan and have filed complaints with An Bord Pleanala.

In 2014, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county councillors voted to unanimously preserve the lodge in situ and the decision was incorporated into the Local Area Plan and County Plan.

“The application is riding roughshod over both the County Development Plan and the Blackrock Local Area Plan,” says councillor Mary Hanafin.

Local resident Denise O’Neill told Dublin Gazette: “All councillors voiced their concern that the LAP and County Plan are as good as shredded should this go ahead wasting everybody’s time, effort and local engagement.”

In addition to this, concerns about setting a precedent for the status of other protected structures in the state have been raised.

“If it is removed, what does this mean for all of the other protected structures in our county?”

“I hope that An Bord Pleanala ensures a condition is put in to safeguard the lodge,” says local Labour councillor Deirdre Kingston.

A decision on the proposed planning permission will be made by June 13.

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