Reporting by Rachel D’Arcy and Gary Ibbotson
An application has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala for the demolition of one of Dublin’s best known bowling alleys, to make way for over 200 apartments.
Leisureplex in Stillorgan is known as one of the capital’s first bowling alleys, attracting patrons from across the county for several years.
The site was purchased for €15m in 2016 by Kennedy Wilson investment funds, who also own Stillorgan Shopping Centre, across the road from the bowling alley.
A planning application was lodged in February with An Bord Pleanala, with ABP deciding on April 10 that the application requires further consideration or amendment before permission is granted.
Local councillors and residents have said that the development of the site is ‘inevitable’, as there was a vision established in the Stillorgan Local Area Plan for the development of the bowling alley site.
Local Fine Gael councillor John Kennedy said that building on the site was to be expected, given the level of investment Kennedy Wilson has put into the site.
Kennedy said: “It is important that development here is as sympathetic as possible to the concerns of surrounding residents, particularly bearing in mind the very real access concerns raised by residents in St Laurence’s Park.
Cllr Barry Saul and I met with residents and then with the council ahead of the most recent renewal of the Local Area Plan to aim to mitigate the impact of future development at this location upon them as much as possible.”
Independent councillor Deirdre Donnelly said that nobody in the area is against development, and that homes need to be built, but that she hopes the scheme will not be ‘build to rent’ to allow people access to the property ladder.
Donnelly said: “I’m not against development in general and understand we need to build more homes.
“The Stillorgan area has an ageing population many of whom would love to downsize but have nowhere to go. This site would be ideal if it weren’t for this new model of build to rent that appears to be government supported.
“The people who will suffer most are those in adjoining St Laurence’s Park.
“I felt it was only right therefore to object to the entire entrance and exit from this new development going through their estate when this proposal was first brought to my attention last year.”
Last year Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Councillors voted on the Stillorgan Local Area Plan.
Donnelly says that she hopes a motion to introduce trees and green areas with seating around the Leisureplex site will be carried out once the works are complete.
Leisureplex currently operate six branches around the country, five in Dublin and one in Cork. These include Charlestown, Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Coolock.
Kennedy Wilson and Leisureplex did not respond to queries by time of going to press.