Concern over future of Deerhunter site

by Gazette Reporter

OPINION is divided among local politicians and residents on the proposed fate of the Deerhunter site on Sallynoggin Road, which could become home to a new supermarket, and two restaurants, if recent planning permission applications made by an unknown developer are successful.
Last week, more than 100 residents attended a public meeting in the Graduate pub in Killiney to discuss the potential development.
Meeting organiser Cllr Cormac Devlin (FF) said: “There have been several plans on this site in the past. In December 2005 [there was an application in] for a large shopping centre – Glenageary Village – that the council gave permission for, but An Bord Pleanala later overruled and ultimately refused.
“Then, another application came in March 2009 for a few smaller shops and a nursing home, but the developer then went into NAMA.
“Now, the receiver is applying for a new plan for three single-storey blocks, a large discounter – either Lidl or Aldi – a fast-food drive-thru restaurant, and a small cafe plus playground, and a 121-space surface car park with two access points, from Glenageary Avenue and Sallynoggin Road.”
The planning application was made in the name of statutory receiver to the Deerhunter, Frank Gilmer, and the deadline for submissions to the development proposal expired on April 16.
Cllr John Bailey (FG) is one of the most vocal opponents of the new development. He said: “This will prove the death knell for small business and local employment in the neighbouring Dun Laoghaire centre.
“This is a massive expansion and the developer is being allowed to do as he likes. There are five new [submitted site] applications, which include demolishing trees, and I’m totally incensed at this programme.
“The bankrupt Deerhunter site was sold to NAMA for €36m, who then sold it to a developer. I’m calling on the council to refuse permission for this development, and to build social housing instead. It’s a massive kick in the teeth for the residents,” he said.
Cllr Melisa Halpin (PBP) said: “There is no information about who will run any of the retail [units] on the site, and it is unclear who owns the site as the planning application is being submitted by the receiver.
“People Before Profit has previously suggested the site could be used for social housing, community allotments and other community facilities.
“This, however, was dismissed by other councillors and the land is zoned for town centre development.”
However, Cllr Jane Dillon Byrne (Lab) was in favour of the proposed development. She said: “I’m pleased that some movement is taking place regarding the Deerhunter. It’s so derelict and miserable looking and is in such a prominent spot.
“There are concerns among local people but the development is low-rise, which is good, and we can still see Killiney Hill, so people will still have a view, which is an important factor.
“Also, it is not a very dense development and the public would have a playground, too. The planning application is not the worst, with two restaurants and a supermarket.”
Lidl and Aldi had not responded on the issue by the time of going to print.
However, in response to Cllr Bailey’s claim that the site was sold to NAMA for €36m, who then sold it on to a developer, a NAMA spokesperson said: “NAMA’s role is as a secured lender – ie, similar to a bank. In any dealings with a debtor or receiver, NAMA seeks to achieve the best outcome for the taxpayer.
“Note that the claim made … that the agency acquired this site and sold it to a developer is incorrect. As a secured lender, NAMA generally does not own, buy or sell properties.”

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