Bullock Harbour development described as 'drab and unattractive'

Created on Monday, 16 January 2017 16:27
Written by Gillian Mills

A proposed development at Bullock Harbour, Co Dublin, comprising six shop units with overhead apartments, a café and three, three-storey houses, has met with significant public resistance. At a recent public meeting, objections for the plan were outlined to a packed house of over 400, with corresponding disquiet from the floor.

Bullock development

Artist's impression of the proposed development at Bullock Harbour, Co Dublin

Key observations outlined its significance, historically and culturally; scale and height of the proposed development, and concerns regarding parking, access, traffic, drainage and flooding. Concern was also expressed regarding demolition and clearing of the site in proximity to the existing heritage houses.

In a statement, Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and local resident, said the plan would see a ‘significant change to the appearance, feel and experience of what is a beautiful historical harbour. The vista would be destroyed for so many and there would be significant traffic and access issues.’

She added that from her time as a councillor on DLR CoCo, she had campaigned for the preservation of the harbour, tabling Motion 253 Zoning Objective on Bullock Harbour (November 2009) that proposed the zoning should be retained as Zone Objective J ‘to improve coastal amenities, no residential developments and no nightclubs.’

The motion was rejected by a vote of 4:22 and the harbour was subsequently re-zoned ‘W’, allowing for the current applications to be made.

As the proposed development comprises less than ten residential units, no social housing requirement exists. Until recently, developers had to allocate a fifth of sites on new developments for social housing; this restriction was reduced by then Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, to one in ten sites.

Built heritage

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.’

Ossian Smyth, Green Party Councillor for DLR CoCo has described the plans as ‘drab and unattractive’ and would prefer to see the building line follow the curve wall of the quay, instead of a ‘straight line of identical white cubic apartments….reminiscent of a strip mall’.

He added that pitched rather than flat roofs would be more practical given location on an exposed headland regularly battered by strong winds that send wave spray above the height of the existing buildings.

Plans have been lodged with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council who will have to decide whether the development should go ahead, be modified or rejected. The developer is Richard Barrett.

Observations can be made in writing to the Planning Department, DLR CoCo, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, by deadline 4pm January 19, accompanied by a fee of €20 and reference D16A/0906, or can be made online at: http://planning.dlrcoco.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=D16A/0906

A FaceBook page has also been set up at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/551447408392717/