Former judge claims Blackrock 'build-to-rent' scheme will 'wreck the place'

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Former Judge Claims Blackrock 'Build-To-Rent' Scheme Will 'Wreck The Place' Former Judge Claims Blackrock 'Build-To-Rent' Scheme Will 'Wreck The Place'
The ‘Age-Friendly’ scheme proposed for Woodlands Park, Blackrock aimed at ageing members of society comes complete with two roof-top hot tubs. 
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Gordon Deegan

A former judge has claimed that a planned five storey 39 unit ‘build to rent’ scheme for Blackrock in south Dublin “will create chaos in the area” and “will wreck the place”.

In a strident objection to plans by Richard Barrett’s Bartra ‘Later Living’ scheme, Judge Patrick J McMahon has told Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council that “the height of the building is outrageous”.

Judge McMahon points out that there is “no similar height in the area”.

The ‘Age-Friendly’ scheme proposed for Woodlands Park, Blackrock aimed at ageing members of society comes complete with two roof-top hot tubs.

Judge McMahon and Ann McMahon have told the Council that “this is a quiet secluded residential area. The development will create chaos in the area”.

Judge McMahon retired as a district court judge in 2013 and was subsequently appointed by Government in 2014 to the role of Confidential Recipient for Gardai and gave evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal concerning his role.

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Judge McMcMahon served as judge in district courts in the Dublin and Meath-Louth areas.

The McMahon objection is one of 25 that has been lodged against the scheme by local residents.

In their one-page objection, the McMahons write that “the developer is stating that this is a development for older people. At the same time, they claim to be putting in 64 bicycle spaces. This is blatantly contradictory.”

The McMahons also cite the Bartra nursing home for Dalkey that is opposed by broadcaster, Pat Kenny and his wife Kathy. The application is currently before An Bord Pleanala after being refused planning permission by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

Judge McMahon and Ann McMahon further state that “if these type of schemes are allowed, residential areas will be destroyed. Woodlands Park is a magnificent area and this scheme will wreck the place.”

The McMahons conclude their objection by stating “magnificent properties in the immediate area will be overlooked. This includes Woodlands Park, Grove Avenue, Mount Merrion and Priory.”

Bartra already has planning permission for 26 units on the site in the face of local opposition.

In a separate objection Dr Thomas B Courtney and Aileen Hughes Courtney contend that the ‘age friendly concept’ scheme is “a badly disguised attempt by Bartra to increase the density of their development at all costs”.

'Age-friendly concept'

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According to documentation lodged with the proposal, Bartra Property Ltd state that the ‘Age Friendly’ concept "is to provide high-quality, specialist, age-appropriate housing for older people close to their existing communities, promoting vibrant retirement communities where people can enjoy a healthier and more active retirement”.

The independent living scheme - made up of 35 one bedroom units and four two bedroom units - also includes a ‘Trackman' golf simulator room for golf enthusiasts who will reside there.

The proposed scheme’s other residential facilities include a cinema, meeting room/family dining room, a library/reading room, gym, kitchen, hydrotherapy room, hairdressing room, massage room and private member’s clubroom with espresso bar.

The site is located 450m from the junction connecting the N11 and the N31 and a 20-minute walk from the centre of Blackrock and Stillorgan.

Explaining the ‘Later Living Concept’, planning consultant, Kevin Hughes of Hughes Planning & Development Consultants states that “social interaction is important, but perhaps more than ever later in life and the proposed development scheme reflects this by seeking to provide a caring, safe and secure environment, which promotes healthy living and wellbeing”.

The submission states: “The proposed facility is not a care home but is designed specifically to respond to the evolving needs of the residents, including easily facilitating outsourced care providers when necessary.”

A decision is due on the application next month. The closing date for objections is Monday, April 25th.

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