guidance on observations to an bord pleanala

This post provides guidance on the content of an observation to An Bord Pleanala in respect of the Bartra appeal against the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown CoCo refusal of planning permission for the Western Marine boatyard site and of the BHPA appeal in support of the DLR decision. Our previous post provides guidance on how to make an observation online or by letter. Remember that you can make observations on both appeals in one submission.

Observation on the BHPA appeal

We suggest that in drafting your observation you first discuss the appeal by Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association (BHPA):-

  1. Support the decision by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to refuse permission. 
  1. Support the appeal by BHPA which seeks to strengthen that decision by adding further reasons for refusal.
  1. Support BHPA’s request for an oral hearing by the Bord.  This is important as an oral hearing before the Bord will enable us to better explain the overtopping, environmental and other issues unique to the Western Marine boatyard site.

Observation on the Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd Appeal

Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd has appealed against the DLR refusal of planning permission.  In writing your observation on their appeal you could repeat any observations that you made to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s planning department on the planning application.  You could also address various misleading points made by Bartra in their appeal document, as set out below:-

  1. Bartra presents the flooding problem at Bullock as being just a question of dealing with high levels of surface water.  They do not address the real nature of overtopping and ignore the violence of the waves and the inundation by enormous powerful bodies of seawater landing from overhead directly on the sites for the new houses during storms.  These are likely to damage property and endanger residents.  The Appeal only refers to what they call ‘sea spray’ landing on the site.  You could describe your first hand experience of these.  

The updated Coastal Flood Risk Maps published in 2022 now show the whole Western Marine site to be at risk from over-topping, which previously had applied only to the rocky areas outside the boundary wall.  The first reason given in the DLR Refusal is that the site is potentially liable to flood events and significant wave overtopping.

  1. Permission should not be granted to a development which depends on an emergency evacuation or isolation plan for the safety of its residents.
  1. The proposed residences are out of scale with the adjacent small buildings in the harbour.  This relates to both the height and the bulk. The design and height of the quayside apartment block is too dominant.  The three houses behind are each over 400 square metres of floor area.  With all three buildings bunched together, they will present as a single large mass.  The development will change the character of the harbour and block views of the rocky landscape and seascape.
  1. The appeal presents the proposed development as “mixed use”.  In fact, the majority of the development is residential (72%) which is contrary to the SLO which stresses marine based uses. The inclusion of nominal community/commercial uses is a minor and under-developed element.
  1. Bartra persists in claiming that Bullock Harbour is under-used and has few visitors.  This is laughable.  In recent years there has been a significant increase in kayaking and paddle boarding from Bullock.  Your first hand knowledge of Bullock as a well visited and well-used harbour would be valuable. 

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