Furious councillors slam Bartra build plan in Castleknock

by Sylvia Pownall

Local politicians have described as “an outrage” a decision to allow a 206-bed co-living development on the site of Brady’s pub in Castleknock to go ahead.

The five-storey block, which includes 182 single rooms, 12 double rooms and four shared living areas, was given the green light by An Bord Pleanala (ABP) against its own inspector’s recommendations.

Bartra lodged plans directly with the board under controversial fast-track guidelines for strategic housing developments introduced by Fine Gael, meaning council planners were bypassed and there is no avenue for appeal.

Cllr Tania Doyle (Ind) criticised the fact that conditions attached to the permission would not be published on the ABP website for a full week after its ruling.

She told Dublin Gazette: “This type of development does not alleviate the current lack of appropriate housing in Dublin 15, it does not foster a sense of community, either.

“It is a development purely for rent. The process is wrong – it is ignoring the democratic will of the communities of Dublin 15 and the elected members of the council.”

Social Democrats election candidate Aengus O Maolain said the approval was “an outrage” and a sign that the race to the bottom for standards of accommodation had entered “a new and frightening stage”.

He added: “I thought the days of bedsits and tenements were behind us. Accommodation that is just one small step above a hostel is not suitable for long-term residence.

“To get a grasp of how crowded this will be, planning permission was previously granted at this site for 41 apartments. This development will contain 198 units on the same site.”

Green Party Dublin West election candidate Cllr Roderic O’Gorman laid the blame squarely at Fine Gael’s feet, accusing them of pushing the co-living model.

He added: “Co-living is the wrong model for Ireland and this suburban site is absolutely the wrong place for co-living. This decision is completely the fault of Fine Gael’s housing policies.

“The guidelines that Minister [for Housing] Eoghan Murphy introduced in 2018 to allow for co-living developments and high-density building out of the city centre are the direct basis on which An Bord Pleanala made this decision.”

Labour Cllr John Walsh said the Government had sidelined responsible planning to create a developer’s charter.

Describing the scheme as a “substandard, for profit development”, he added: “It beggars belief.”

His party colleague Cllr Mary McCamley, who also objected to the development, said it was “a very disappointing outcome for the community” and that “the views of anyone with local knowledge of the area have been disregarded”.

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