A revised plan for residential development at Bulloch Harbour, Co Dublin, was described as an ‘extremely flawed document’ and ‘worse than the original application’, at a recent public meeting that attracted a full house in a local hotel.
2017 north-easterly storm batters Bulloch Harbour; artist impression of development proposal
In February 2017, Dún Laoghaire County Council rejected an application by the Bartra Property Group comprising six shop units with overhead apartments, a café and three, three-story houses. The development was described by Bartra as ‘both respectful and enhancing of the harbour and the local environment’.
In their refusal, Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council said the site area reserved for residential use was excessive and that the design had inadequate provision for its marine-related aspects. The development would ‘seriously compromise’ the harbour’s ability to attract marine-related use and would limit their scale and diversity.
The plan was also described as ‘lacking in the quality and distinctiveness of design required’ for the location and would result in an incongruous and abrupt visual form.
‘In particular the development fails to integrate appropriately within the harbour area.’
The current application includes three large houses (412 sq m) buildings comprising three storeys and a fourth roof garden to the rear of the site.
‘These houses appear to be a metre higher than the previous proposal’ and taller than the adjacent county council pumping station, ‘with a further 1.6m access structure projecting above’, notes the Bulloch Harbour Presentation Society.
This site is ‘unsuitable due to serious flooding and overtopping’ where waves with debris are projected over the rocks and land on the proposed site. Overtopping is a regular occurrence at Bulloch from increasing north-easterly storms, the meeting heard.
A flood risk report is included in the application but is described by objectors as ‘generic in nature’ and based on theoretical models that ‘do not adequately reflect the unique topography of the site’. They add that no experts have witnessed or studied a north easterly storm at the harbour.
‘This poses a potential health and safety risk, yet the applicants have persisted in proposing large residences on the site, occupying 75% of the total gross floor area’, says the BHPS.
The further two apartments of 160sq m are also proposed at the end of the quay; these are two metres higher than the initial proposal and twice as high as the existing vacated ‘Western Marine’.
This building is ‘in serious conflict with the existing architecture and scale and would extend 3.7m closer to the edge of the quay.’
The plan also includes a craft boat workshop (416 sq m) and a small single storey structure for community use.
Local objectors say their concerns have been largely ignored by the developers. ‘The application pays virtually no attention to the special character, heritage and history of this small working harbour and would cause enormous disruption to the existing small businesses, residents, small boat owners, numerous harbour users and tourists.’
Observations including a €20 fee may be posted or delivered to the Planning Department, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, County Hall, Marine, Road, Dún Laoghaire, or online
Closing date: 16:00 February 5, 2018
Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Country Development Plan 2016-2022: Specific Local Objectives
Bulloch Harbour: That any residential development shall form part of a mixed-use scheme which will include commercial marine-based activity and public water-based recreational uses and shall have regard to the special nature of the area in terms of the height, scale, architecture and density of built form.’
Bullock harbour dates back to the twelfth century when the granite structure was fortified for trade and fishing purposes by Cistercian Monks, and today is still used as a local centre for fishing and marine tourism activities.
The harbour is listed in the ‘Record of Protected Structures’ and is included in the ‘Built Heritage Strategy’ of the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan 2016-2022 which states Council policy is to:
‘Encourage and promote the retention of features of the County’s coastal heritage where these contribute to the character of the area, and have regard to these items identified in the Coastal Architecture Heritage Survey when assessing any development proposals.’
Land use Zoning Objectives Zoning objective W
‘To provide for waterfront development and harbour related uses’
Open for Consideration:
Areas which may be permitted where the Planning Authority is satisfied that the proposed development would be compatible with the overall policies and objectives for the zone, would not have undesirable effects and would otherwise be consistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. Uses which are temporary are open for consideration in all zones.Advertisements and Advertising Structures (d); Church, Crèche/Nursery School, Discotheque/Nightclub, Doctor/Dentist, Education, Enterprise Centred, Hotel/Motel, Office Based Industry, Offices 200sq.m to 1,000sq.m(d); Offices over 1,000sq.md, Public House, Recreational Buildings (Commercial), Residential, Residential Institution, Retirement Home, Science and Technology Based Industry(d); Shop-Local, ShopNeighbourhood, Shop-Specialist, Travellers Accommodation.
d: Development related to marine activities