Planning battle looms in Dublin 4 as developer to lodge plans for 688 apartments on former RTÉ land

Artist's impression of a previous plan by Cairn Homes for the former RTÉ lands at Montrose which included 614 homes.

Gordon Deegan

Developer Cairn Homes looks set to spark a fresh planning battle in Dublin 4 with the lodging of plans in the coming days for a large scale apartment and hotel scheme on former RTÉ lands at Montrose in Donnybrook.

This follows Cairn Homes Montrose Ltd formally confirming that it is to seek planning permission for 688 apartments - comprising 416 build-to-rent apartments and 272 build-to-sell units – on the former RTÉ campus lands.

The Large Scale Residential Development (LRD) also includes a 192 bedroom hotel, 17 ‘age friendly living’ units, a creche, restaurant and cafe, artisan food shop, residential amenities and associated site works.

The scheme is to be built across 10 blocks with one block, containing the hotel, to reach nine to 16 storeys in height.

Three other blocks will reach to 10 storeys in height with four others reaching to eight storeys.

The statutory planning notice published on Wednesday concerning the scheme states that it will deliver a new urban neighbourhood with 9,727 sq metres of public open space across two main landscaped areas within the Cairn holding.

A basement level accessed from the Stillorgan Road is to also provide 457 car spaces and 490 bicycle spaces.

The scheme is to include the demolition of the RTÉ Sports and Social Club and all structures associated with the former Fair City set.

Cairn is also to lodge an environmental impact assessment report concerning the new development.

The scheme is larger in scale than the €338m 614-unit scheme in nine apartment blocks ranging from four to 10 storeys in height that Cairn secured planning permission for from An Bord Pleanála in September 2020.

Billionaire Dermot Desmond was a vocal opponent of the initial Cairn scheme describing the proposal as "Ballymun Towers South Dublin” in a letter to Dublin city councillors.

However, in March 2021 An Bord Pleanála consented to a High Court order quashing its permission for the Cairn 614-unit scheme.

This followed a High Court challenge by three local residents, Chris Comerford, John Gleeson and Pat Desmond, wife of Mr Desmond, to the board’s decision to deal with the permission application by Cairn Homes.

The new plan by Cairn Homes comes five years after it paid RTÉ €107.5m for the 8.64 acre site.

The developer commenced its bid to build on the site in December 2018 when it put preliminary plans before An Bord Pleanála.

The lodging of the plans comes more than five months after Dublin City Council provided Cairn with a detailed formal opinion following statutory pre-application discussions on the firm’s proposed mixed-use development.

The new LRD system replaces the ‘fast track’ Strategic Housing Development (SHD) system which allows developers to by-pass councils and lodge their plans direct to An Bord Pleanála.

The SHD system is currently being phased out. Under the new LRD system, applicants and third parties can appeal council decisions to An Bord Pleanála.

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