An Bord Pleanala have made a decision to grant planning permission to over 600 apartments on privately owned lands within St Anne’s Park, despite major opposition from locals and politicians.
Crekav Trading, part of Marlet Property Group, applied for planning permission for 657 apartments across nine blocks, ranging in height from five to nine storeys, on sports pitches formally owned by St Paul’s College.
Permission for the project was granted on Tuesday, under the Government’s ‘Fast Track’ process. The permission was granted, subject to 25 conditions, with ABP’s appeals board upholding the recommendation of its own inspector to give permission for the development.
This is despite Dublin City Council chief Owen Keegan recommending that permission for the development be refused on several grounds, primarily that the development was ‘not considered to be consistent with the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022’.
Several local politicians have also voiced their desire for the project to be turned down, citing concerns for local biodiversity and pressure on amenities. Local councillor Donna Cooney (GP) said that it was ‘a bad day’ for St Anne’s, upon news of ABP’s decision.
Bad day for #ILoveStAnnesPark #SaveOurPark an Bord Pleanála granted permission & seems to think midigation for species sufficient only short term negative, (that can be disputed) How's development plan considered when DCC planners recommendation of refusal ignored @ilovestannes pic.twitter.com/gm9LjnqwB5— Cllr. Donna Cooney (@donna_cooney1) February 18, 2020
Earlier this month, An Bord Pleanala refused permission for the development of synthetic sports pitches on lands adjacent to those of the proposed development – still owned by St Paul’s College – on the basis that the proposed pitches could potentially ‘adversely affect the integrity of the North Bull Island Special Protection Area’.
An advocacy group campaigning for the protection of the grounds, I Love St Anne’s, took to Facebook following the news to inform residents and locals.
The group said: “We are surprised and disappointed with this decision from An Bord Pleanála, which appears to contradict their own recent ruling on the synthetic pitches and their 2018 refusal for a similar development on the same lands.
“In addition, there are two legal processes on-going in relation to this land, which in our view, make [the] ruling somewhat premature.”
Local resident Dee Byrne said that the light pollution alone from the apartments may adversely affect wildlife. He said: “I am completely devastated and utterly confounded by this decision. The light pollution alone from this development will inevitably have a detrimental impact on the wildlife in the park. We have to challenge this terrible decision.”
Another resident, Sonja Krzyzanowski, said: “This is an outrageous decision. The community is united in opposition to this, and we will fight to our last breath to prevent this development.”