Vacancy Watch: a Row of Vacant Homes on Bray Road

Many commuters heading south from the city, and patrons of the Dublin Bus 145 route, pass by Cherrywood.

At least one person has noticed a row of properties boarded up and overgrown with weeds and ivy, on the N11 right before the Esso garage.

“I have been looking at these sites and waiting to see some evidence of them being developed for months,” said reader Mark Kirwan, by email.

The lack of action seemed striking. “Nothing seems to be happening with property that seems to me to be some prime real estate in a city that is suffering from a lack of affordable housing. Is there a plan for this area, or these specific properties?” he said.

One of the properties lies on the Bray Road, technically in Cabinteely, and has a  high gate, a “keep out” notice and sign informing passersby, “This site is protected by PRIMTAC SECURITY LTD”.

A few metres away from this house are more properties in similar, though less obvious states of disrepair. El Dorado, Greenhill, Capard, The Galliard, Teely Lodge are all boarded up.

Further down still, a little more removed from the N11, the whole of Beech Park has been fenced off. This means all houses from Beech Park to the Esso (with the exception of Woodhaven) are vacant.

Cherrywood has a Luas stop, the houses are opposite Kilbogget Park and on a major road. It seems like an ideal location to live.

Strategic Zone

Only one of the properties, Teely Lodge, is registered with Landdirect. Legis Secretaries Limited bought the property in January 2006, and are now in receivership.

In 2015, property development firm O’Flynn Capital Partners sought planning permission for a development of 164 residential units on the site.

But the planning application was refused back in July 2015. Neighbouring Cherrywood has Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) status. Similar to the Docklands development plan and created towns like Adamstown, there are big plans for the Cherrywood area.

The cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Cormac Devlin, says “it’s quite a sizeable scheme”.

“You’re talking up to 8,000 units being developed … with a population of about 25-30,000 people … because of the town centre [being built] you’re talking employment opportunities for possibly 25,000 people,” said the Fianna Fáil councillor.

The vacant houses formed part of the SDZ before it was amended, Devlin said.

In its rejection of planning permission, the council claims, among other things, that the “layout and housing typology as proposed [did] not respond appropriately to the features and contours of the site, nor [did] it achieve the densities required on the site in order to accord with [Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County development] policy”.

Councillor Devlin speculated that “in the council’s view maybe the application was premature; the planning scheme for the SDZ hadn’t come up yet”. He added there were “no issues about it in terms of local residents” objecting to the development.

A court challenged ensued. Following a complicated and lengthy judgement (it’s over 38,000 words) a new planning application was allowed to be submitted, which was done last August.

This time permission was sought for a smaller development of 34 residential units: 16 three-storey semi-detached houses, 4 two-storey semi-detached four-bedroom houses, 6 two-storey, semi-detached three-bedroom houses, and 8 two-storey, terraced, three-bedroom houses.

What Now?

Planning permission was granted in December, but has recently been challenged by O’Flynn Capital as not all of what they sought was given in the grant of planning.

Labour Councillor Denis O’Callaghan explains that the “council granted and refused planning permission”.

Now before An Bord Pleanála for consideration, the appeal “is by the applicant on the refused part of the application”.

Councillor Jim Gildea of Fine Gael says the council did not consider making a compulsory purchase order on the houses.

“Unfortunately we don’t have a right to do so and in any event it’s unlikely we could afford them as they form part of a bigger parcel of development land owned by O’Flynn [Capital],” he said.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Press Office said it couldn’t answer questions about the site, because of the appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

Reader responses

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Stephen
29 March at 09:11

The site, in the first photo, beside the Esso station on the N11 is the site of a significant new junction onto the N11. A public consultation on the planned junction is currently underway with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

Sarah
30 March at 18:54

@Stephen: Right you are Stephen. From the looks of the proposal *https://dlrcoco.citizenspace.com/…) more than that one house, and perhaps even the Esso itself, may be impacted. Thanks for your note!

Author:

Sarah Taaffe-Maguire: Sarah Taaffe-Maguire is a freelance journalist. She is a regular contributor to RTÉ Arena and has written for multiple publications, including the Irish Times, TheJournal.ie and Totally Dublin.

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