20-storey high Foxhunter Pub apartment block plans refused
The Foxhunter pub site

20-storey high Foxhunter Pub apartment block plans refused

A DEVELOPER has been refused permission to construct a 20-storey build-to-rent apartment block, which was described as a “horrific eyesore”, at the Foxhunter Pub by An Bord Pleanála.

The contentious plans to develop a 20-storey block, two three-storey blocks and a four-storey block attracted 182 third-party submissions before South Dublin County Council refused permission in December 2021.

The local authority stated that the 161-unit scheme was “a material contravention of the zoning objective of the site”, as it is zoned for retail warehouse use and not for residential development.

In their decision to refuse permission, the council also said the development would be “visually obtrusive” and “adversely impact” on the visual amenity of the subject site, and that it would lead to “unacceptable levels of traffic congestion” in the area.

Manahan Planners, acting on behalf of developer Fox Connect Limited, lodged an appeal against the council’s decision with An Bord Pleanála on January 13.

Outlining their grounds for appeal, the appellant said that the social infrastructure within the locality “has the capacity to account for the development without undue stress on facilities”.

In relation to the zoning issues, the appellant claimed that a large area to the east of the subject site is residentially zoned, but contains two healthcare facilities, St Loman’s and Ballydowd Special Care Unit.

They also stated that Lucan is designated as a “metropolitan consolidation town” in the South Dublin County Development Plan, and that this directs the area “to be developed at a relatively large scale”.

Following the appeal, An Board Pleanála (ABP) received 146 submissions in relation to the case with one describing it as a “horrific eyesore” and a “monolithic” structure.

On February 21, 2022, the Board came to the decision that they would uphold the local planning authority’s decision to refuse permission based on seven grounds.

ABP came to the decision that the justification for the 20-storey tower block was unsubstantiated, especially when considering the “outer suburban location” in Lucan.

The zoning for the subject land is RW, which is “to provide for and consolidate retail warehousing” in the South Dublin County Development Plan 2016-2022. Therefore, residential use is “not permitted” on these lands.

ABP concluded that the proposed development would be “contrary to proper planning” when taking the absence or inadequacy of information supplied in relation to daylight performance, microclimate conditions, noise protection measures and childcare facilities.

“The board is not satisfied that future residents of the proposed development would be provided with acceptable standards of residential amenity,” the documentation reads.

With the plans’ excessive height, bulk, scale and massing of buildings, the scheme would ultimately be “visually obtrusive” if it got the go-ahead according to the Board.

In the end, the Board believed that granting permission would set an undesirable precedent for developments in the surrounding areas.

The former Foxhunter Pub site just off the N4 in Lucan sold for what The Echo understood at the time – in 2019 – to be around €3m.

The Foxhunter closed its doors in 2012 and was put in the hands of receivers – five years after it was bought by Select Retail Holdings, a consortium that included property developer Bernard McNamara for about €17m.

After it closed in 2012, the property was in the hands of receiver Tom Kavanagh before being sold to Avoca in 2014 – who planned to invest €3.7m, and create 50 jobs, before pulling out in 2016 due to a “legal-contractual” issue.

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