From Frank McDonald - Irish Times July 9th

An Bord Pleanála rejects Dunleer schemes FRANK McDONALD, Environment Editor

AN TAISCE has won its third successive appeal against decisions by Louth County Council to grant permission for residential-led developments in Dunleer, with An Bord Pleanála overturning all three of the proposed schemes.

The latest decision by the appeals board relates to a revised plan by Tony Mallon, of A1 Design Services, for 12 townhouses, five apartments and three shops, car parking and a service road on a site adjoining the former railway station.

Refusing permission, the board said it was “not satisfied that the development of the site in the manner proposed would facilitate the reopening of Dunleer railway station”, which it noted is an objective of the county development plan. This was because of “the absence of a coherent proposal for the lands in this overall area providing for access for cars, buses, pedestrians and car-parking” associated with the station. Accordingly, it would be “contrary to proper planning and sustainable development”.

Another reason cited by the board was that the proposed layout “would deliver a scheme with poor residential amenity for future occupants by reason of the poor quality of open space, both private and public, and poor disposition of [car] parking”.

In December 2007, also on foot of an appeal lodged by Gerry Crilly, a local member of An Taisce’s national council, An Bord Pleanála overturned an earlier, significantly larger scheme for the site by the same developer, for similar reasons.

In that case, the board said it would “result in the over-development of this land at a higher density than is found in the environs of the site and would result in a form of development which would be incongruous in this part of the town”. A much larger scheme of 167 apartments and 12 retail units in 11 buildings rising to five storeys in height, which had also been approved by the county council for a site off Main Street, Dunleer, was also appealed successfully by An Taisce in 2007.

In this case, An Bord Pleanála said the proposed development would “constitute a significant, high density and intensive expansion relative to the existing town and, by reason of its design, would fail to integrate with the existing settlement of Dunleer”.

The board was also “not satisfied that development of this site in the manner proposed would not prejudice the comprehensive redevelopment of the station and its environs”. As a result, it would be contrary to proper planning and sustainable development.

Commenting on the board’s latest decision, Mr Crilly said Dunleer had “won a very important battle” and now had an opportunity to develop community and local amenities “with the needs of the local people at the core of all plans that will be developed in the near future”.

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times