Councillors in a jam over homes proposal for former Chivers site

by Rachel Darcy

Nearly 500 homes have been proposed for a former factory site in Coolock in a move that has left locals feeling perturbed.

The homes are set to be developed on the former Chivers Jam factory site, after the land was voted for rezoning by Dublin City Councillors last year.

However, those who voted on the initial proposals made by developers Platinum Land, who own the site, said that what has been submitted to An Bord Pleanala has some differences.

Councillor Larry O’Toole (SF) said that the plans, named ‘The Jam Factory’, is ‘at variance’ with a presentation given by the developers last year.

Cllr O’Toole said: “The proposal is very much at variance with the presentation that we were given last year during discussions on rezoning of this land.

“This is an excessive development in a very settled residential neighbourhood and does not consider the adverse effect it will have on local infrastructure and the impact it will have on the local road network.

“While we welcome a residential development on this site, we object to it as a very bad and inappropriate proposal which will have a very negative impact on the local area.”

In late 2018, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy lifted restrictions on maximum building heights in an attempt to prevent urban sprawl.

Most of the homes in the surrounding area are two storeys in height. The proposed apartment blocks range to up to five stories in height.

Labour councillor Alison Gilliland said she believes that Platinum Land have ‘taken advantage’ of the change made by Minister Murphy.

“It is my view that the developer has taken advantage of the Minister’s change in height legislation and increased the height and therefore the density in their application for this site.

“This contradicts the regulations in our Dublin City Development Plan,” Gilliland said.

“I believe this is over development – the surrounding area is all low-rise terraced housing with some local retail units.”

Gilliland says there is good public transport connectivity in the locale to the city, but limited radial connections, whilst O’Toole said that transport services in the area wouldn’t be able to handle additional passenger numbers as they’re already over-subscribed at peak times.

“This type of design would be perfect for the docklands or another city centre site where all amenities and in particular public transport to all parts of the city/country on the doorstep,” Gilliland said.

Councillors and residents alike have also voiced their disappointment that the development is expected to be Build-to-Rent. Newly elected Racheal Batten (SD) has said that residents are ‘annoyed’ that The Jam Factory will be solely for renting.

Batten said: “I was very annoyed, as are many of the residents, to see the application for built to rent apartments.

“The new legislation that was brought in by [Eoghan Murphy] is leading to unsuitable development being approved in areas that do not have the capacity or the facilities to deal with existing demands.

“I believe that legislation needs to be challenged before we have more communities destroyed by bad planning.”

When contacted by Dublin Gazette, Andrew Gillick, managing director of Platinum Land, replied: “Show me another development that creates a new park, three playgrounds, abundance of community facilities and a creche exceeding all standards.

“Apartments, facilities and density that all exceeds standards and creates great places to live.

“We are easily accessible to the city and are creating an affordable rental scheme on long leases.

“I would say we, and most people – including councillors and those in need of housing – will agree we have exceeded all expectations. It’s the best affordable scheme in the city by a mile.”

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