herald

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Pat feared he would be 'Instagrammed' by new development

Pat Kenny says he has lost confidence in planning board. Photo: Irish Independent
Pat Kenny says he has lost confidence in planning board. Photo: Irish Independent

Broadcaster Pat Kenny says he has lost confidence in An Bord Pleanala to properly adjudicate on planning applications.

Mr Kenny said this was his view even before the appeals board gave planning permission to Bartra Capital for its apartment and housing plan beside his Dalkey home this week.

"After An Bord Pleanala recently gave planning permission to Bartra for their plans for Bulloch Harbour I said, 'what hope do we have?'," the broadcaster said.

"I thought that decision was crazy and beggared belief."

In common with the apartment plan appeal beside his home, the board also overruled the inspector's report in relation to the Bulloch Harbour mixed use scheme plan.

"The inspectors are the board's 'boots on the ground' and are employed in intelligence gathering, so I am wondering if the board is fit for purpose when it continues to ignore its own inspectors. Are they only there for window dressing?" Mr Kenny said.

The presenter claimed the appeals board has "completely flipped" in its role.

"My sense was that An Bord Pleanala was there to stop the excesses of over-zealous councils in granting planning permission, but now it seems it is the board granting planning where councils refused and it is failing in its duty to safeguard the built environment," he said.

"I don't know if this 'pro- development' stance is a result of coming under pressure to make sure that more housing is built or not."

Mr Kenny said he was "disappointed but not surprised" at the appeals board ruling concerning the apartment development beside his home.

Baffling

"It is no more baffling than the Bulloch Harbour decision. There are so many things wrong with the plan," he said.

The appeals board granted Richard Barrett's Bartra Capital Property planning permission for 18 apartments, along with six houses, for the 1.4 acre site.

Bartra Capital had originally lodged plans for 19 apartments and seven houses.

Board inspector Kenneth Moloney concluded the proposed development should be refused, ruling that would have an overbearing impact, would be visually obtrusive, would overlook and would seriously injure the residential amenities of the adjoining properties.

Mr Moloney was overruled by a three-person board saying it was satisfied the proposed development would be in accordance with the zoning objective for the site; would be consistent with national and local planning policy and would not seriously injure residential amenities in terms of overlooking or overbearing.

In a newly released submission from Mr Kenny and his wife, Kathy, to the appeals board, the two state: "In this age of social media our family's privacy could be instantly breached and Instagrammed, which is a particular concern to us."

The Kennys commissioned an expert to illustrate the visual impact of the Bartra development on their property with 3D images.

Mr Kenny said the omission of the apartment that gave rise to the Instagram fears "is a small relief".

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