In response to many recent enquiries along the lines of “what’s happening to that Bullock planning application?”, here is a brief update.
Early in 2022, developer Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd submitted a planning application for the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour. This was the third application and it looked very like the second application. The planning authority, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, turned down this third application. Bartra appealed to An Bord Pleanala (ABP), as they had with the second. However, this time Bullock Harbour Preservation Association counter-appealed to ABP in order the support and strengthen the county council’s grounds for refusal.
And there the matter stands. Both appeals are with An Bord Pleanala. We wait.
This post recaps and updates the position of the latest planning application by Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd for the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour.
In January 2022 Bartra submitted a “new” planning application for the Bullock site to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. The application was similar in almost every respect to the former planning proposal of 2017/2018 and was duly refused by DLR. Bartra appealed this refusal to An Bord Pleanala. Bullock Harbour Preservation Association (BHPA) in a countermove also submitted an appeal to ABP, seeking to strengthen and provide additional reasons to DLR’s grounds for refusal. A number of supporters submitted observations to ABP in relation to both appeals. BHPA sought an oral hearing of their appeal by the Bord but this was refused.
An Bord Pleanala has now written to those who made observations to advise that, owing to a backlog of cases currently in hand, they are unable to process the appeals within the statutory 18 weeks and advise a new deadline of 24 October 2022. We anticipate that further deferrals may occur.
Supporters will be aware that allegations have been made of a conflict of interest on the part of the former vice chair of An Bord Pleanala, Paul Hyde. If you missed the extensive press coverage, we can direct you to Mick Clifford’s articles in the Examiner in May and in June. There are also copious articles on aspects of various ABP decisions in The Ditch website.
BHPA understands that previous decisions are not being re-examined by the Bord. However, under the circumstances, it has seemed reasonable to us to write to the chair of the Bord requesting information on the detail of the decision to award planning permission for the previous Bartra planning application – that’s the decision which led to our request for a Judicial Review in 2019. You will recall that in July 2020 the Bord decided not to defend this case before the JR could proceed. We await a response.
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):-
Support the decision by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to refuse permission.
Support the appeal by BHPA which seeks to strengthen that decision by adding further reasons for refusal.
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:-
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.
Permission should not be granted to a development which depends on an emergency evacuation or isolation plan for the safety of its residents.
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.
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.
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.
This post mainly covers the process of making an observation to An Bord Pleanala. We are still formulating our guidance on possible points to make but thought it would be useful to supporters to understand the observation process.
The deadline for receipt of observations is 5.30pm on Monday 25th April 2022. Your observation has to be received by An Bord Pleanala by that time. If submitting by post, allow sufficient time for An Post to deliver by then.
Observations must be made in writing. They can be submitted by post or handed in at the ABP counter at 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, or made online. This online option is a new development. The ABP online instructions are here. Making an observation costs €50. Your postal submission needs to include a cheque made payable to An Bord Pleanala for that value.
Your written submission needs to clearly signal the subject of your observation. Include the following:
An Bord Pleanala Reference: ABP-313146-22
DLR Planning reference:D22A/000
State that the observation relates to Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd’s application for the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour, Dalkey, County Dublin
Make it clear that you are making observations on the appeals lodged by Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd and Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association clg.
Observation on the BHPA appeal
We suggest that you first discuss the appeal by Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association (BHPA) first. State that you support the decision by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to refuse permission. That you support the appeal by BHPA which seeks to strengthen that decision by adding further reasons for refusal. And that you support BHPA’s request for an oral hearing by the Bord. This last point is important as an oral hearing before the bord will enable us to better explain the many problems with the boatyard site.
Observation on the Bartra appeal
Then move on to make your observations on the appeal by Bartra. They are appealing against the DLR decision to refuse planning permission. If you submitted an observation to DLR on the planning application, you can repeat your observations made then. Alternatively, wait until we publish our guidance on possible contents. We are still examining the very long Bartra appeal document and are formulating guidance. We will post this in coming days.
Both Bartra Development and Bullock Harbour Preservation Association have appealed to An Bord Pleanala (ABP) following the decision of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Planners to refuse permission for Bartra’s latest planning application for Bullock Harbour. Bartra’s appeal is seeking to have permission granted for their proposed development, while BHPA has appealed specifically to add further reasons to the refusal of permission. This move by BHPA is in light of ABP’s decision to grant permission for Bartra’s previous very similar application.
It goes without saying that BHPA and all our supporters were delighted with the refusal this February by the Planners of the latest proposed Bartra development at Bullock Harbour. However in light of Bartra’s previous appeal to ABP and the Bord’s rejection of the very many observations from members of the public and ourselves in BHPA, of the recommendations of their own inspector, and – very particularly – of the very strong observation from the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s drainage department, BHPA believes that it is important to strengthen the DLRCC reasons for refusal of this latest Bartra planning application. The reasons given by DLRCC Planners for refusing planning permission included the risk of flooding and the lack of compatibility of the proposed development with the heritage character of the harbour. We are asking for the following further reasons to be added to the decision to refuse permission:
1. ABP was not prepared to defend the environmental issues raised by us in the Judicial Review of the previous application (2018 – 2020 approx) and on which the High Court quashed the Bord’s decision granting permission. We believe these same environmental grounds should be reflected in the reasons for refusal of permission given that they have still not been adequately address in this most recent application.
2. The planner’s report also contains several DLR departments strong objections to the scale and height of the proposed development, However these crucial points have not been referred to in the reasons for refusal.
3. The proposed development would obliterate the views of the rocks to the rear of the site from the harbour (a protected structure) and from Ulverton Road. It would also interfere with the views of the harbour from the sea which is in breach of several Objectives in the County Development Plan. This has not been reflected in the reasons for refusal.
4. The proposed residential development would contravene materially a development objective indicated in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Development Plan 2022-28 for the zoning of land. Objective W is “to provide for waterfront development and harbour related use where residential use is neither permissible nor open for consideration.” This should be a further reason for refusal.
We believe that by making a formal appeal to ABP, our reasons for rejection of this latest application will have to be considered on the same footing as Bartra. As an observer our reasons would not carry the same weight, as was seen when ABP granted permission for the very similar application in 2018.
We will be writing again with advice to supporters on whether and how to make “observations” to ABP in relation to these two appeals.
DLRCC have refused Planning Permission for the latest development proposal from Bartra Property (Dublin) for the former Western Marine site. BHPA warmly welcomes this decision and wishes to thank all those who lodged observations on Bartra plans once again. in particular we are pleased to see the no. 1 reason which is the vulnerability to flood events and significant wave overtopping. The other three reasons cover the predominance of residential over marine related uses, lack of integrated design incorporating waterfront harbour facilities, and the failure to respond to the special character of this harbour site. The full 80 page Planners Report may be found online. The text of the four reasons for the Refusal is below.
1. The proposed development is located in an area which has been identified as potentially liable to flood events and significant wave overtopping. Having regard to the provisions of Appendix 13 (Strategic Flood Risk Assessment) of the 2016 – 2022 Dún Laoghaire -Rathdown County Development Plan and the ‘Planning System and Flood Risk Management, Guidelines for Planning Authorities’ issued by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in November 2009, the proposed development has not included adequate measures to minimise flood risk, and has not included adequate measures to ensure that residual risks to the area and/or development can be managed to an acceptable level as regards the adequacy of existing flood protection measures and provisions for emergency services access, and thus fails Sections 2(ii) and (iii) of Box 5.1 of the Justification Test for development management of The Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines, 2009. Furthermore, the proposal to provide new residential development within Flood Zone A in particular, namely the proposed apartment over commercial units, would not be in accordance with the requirements of Section 4.7 and 5.1 of Appendix 13 (Strategic Flood Risk Assessment) of the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Development Plan 2016-2022. The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
2. In relation to the significant imbalance and predominance of residential use in the proposal and having regard to the low percentage of overall floor area being provided for the marine related uses together with the low developable site area being provided to support and service such uses, it is considered that insufficient provision has been made for waterfront, harbour and marine related uses. It is considered that the amount of site area reserved for residential use is excessive and seriously compromises the achievement of a quality mixed use and integrated development with adequate and appropriate provision for waterfront, marine and harbour related activities. It is therefore considered that the development as proposed would seriously compromise the harbour’s ability to attract and maintain good marine related uses and harbour activities, would limit the scale and diversity of such uses, which the harbour could support and would be contrary to the ‘W’ zoning objective for this site which is ‘to provide for waterfront development and harbour related uses’. The Planning Authority therefore considers that the development as proposed would be contrary to the zoning objective for this location of providing for waterfront development and marine related uses and would also be contrary to the requirements of Specific Local Objective 22 as set out in the 2016 – 2022 Dún Laoghaire -Rathdown County Development Plan. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of this area.
3. It is considered that the lack of an integrated design approach and the almost exclusive use of the majority of the site area for residential use would seriously erode and weaken the existing ‘W’ land use zoning objective for the site of providing for waterfront, marine and harbour related uses. This would undermine the existing land use zoning objective for this site and would seriously compromise the harbour’s ability to attract and maintain good marine related uses. It would also limit the scale and diversity of uses, which the harbour could support and would be contrary to the zoning objective for this site which is to provide for waterfront development and harbour related uses. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of this area.
4. Having regard to the prominent harbour and coastal location of the proposed development and taking into account the special character of the immediate harbour area, the proposed quayside elements, would, if permitted, be visually and physically segregated from the rear of the development site with no meaningful integration, visually or functionally. The proposed development fails therefore to respond appropriately to the unique site context, which requires a high quality, distinctive and integrated mixed use design approach, which considers the site holistically and responds appropriately to the special character of the area and seeks to strengthen and reinforce a positive sense of place at this location. The proposed development would therefore be seriously injurious to the special character and amenities of the harbour area and contrary to the requirements of Specific Local Objective 22 as set out in the 2016 – 2022 Dún Laoghaire -Rathdown County Development Plan. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of this area.
By personally submitting an ‘Observation’ or objection supporters can make an impact on the forthcoming Planners’ decision on the proposal to construct major residential blocks at Bullock Harbour. When making your observation to the Planning Department –
Quote Ref: D22A/0006 – Former Western Marine Site, Bullock Harbour.
Include your Name and Address
Include the fee of €20 – cheques payable to DLRCC / or Credit Card
Add your observation details
This may be done online where you can also read the full application details. Click “Planning Applications Online Search” on the Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council website and follow the links. In order to make an online observation you will first be asked to Register on their website. Observations may also be posted or delivered to: Planning Department, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, County Hall, Marine Rd, Dun Laoghaire.
Planning Office public hours: 10.00 – 16.00 weekdays (open through lunchtime).
POINTS TO CONSIDER FOR OBSERVATIONS – Please rewrite these in your own words
Bulloch Harbour is of huge historical and cultural significance, unique local amenity to be protected, important part of Dalkey heritage. This architectural design is not sympathetic to character of the harbour.
The site is prone to over-topping hazard i.e. inundation by huge waves and waterborne debris in north-easterly storms, and resulting flooding caused by drainage problems especially at high spring tides.
The proposed new drainage plans inadequate to cope with overtopping on houses & surrounds.
Unsuitable for residential development. Not residential in the past for good reason.
Scale and mass of proposal for the large detached houses and one large apartment (each in excess of 400 sq metres) in addition to the essential marine units is excessive. Totally insufficient marine use proposed.
Height of the three-storey quayside apartment block is excessive compared to streetscape of single storey cottages and houses. Closer to quayside than current workshop building. Dominates view of the bay along the quay from the slipway.
Three detached houses excessive in area, height and massing, not in harmony with the nearby architecture, coastal landscape and seascape. Will block views of the coastal rocks behind.
High-end residential development conflicts with marine and leisure activity of working harbour and public access to coastal rocks beyond.
This landmark site has great potential for marine, cultural, heritage, recreational, environmental and community uses, such as display & information area, training, kayaking, fishing, small boating etc.
Further concerns regarding parking, access, traffic, drainage, etc. (expand as you wish).
Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd has, as we have reported, lodged a fresh Planning Application with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (their planning department reference is D22A/0006 ) for the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour on 6th January. Our previous news posts detail the sorry planning history of this site. The new proposal consists of the same building structures as the previous plan with very minor alterations. The principal element of the proposal are three detached houses to the rear of the site: these are virtually unchanged: three storeys, 412 sqm with a roof terrace and lift-shaft above.The formerly proposed two 2-bed apartments over the quayside café have been replaced by one 4-bed 411 sqm apartment, but still 3-storeys high with double-pitched roof. We two 2-bed apartments over the quayside café have been replaced by one 4-bed 411sqm apartment, but still 3-storeys high with double-pitched roof. We have shown these below, together with our 2017 version which inks in the proposed structures to show their actual size and location.
Initial assessment of the planning application
Our initial assessment of the planning application is that the developer has failed to address the reasons cited by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown planners in their decision to refuse permission in 2018:
1. That the predominance of residential use and the low percentage of marine related uses are contrary to the W Zoning and Special Local Objective in the DLRCC Development Plan.
2. The lack of integrated design as the quayside elements are visually and physically segregated from the large houses to the rear.
3. The development fails to respond to the unique context of the site, and does not strengthen the special character and positive sense of place at Bullock Harbour.
4. The scale, mass and height of the quayside block and the large detached houses are excessive compared to the streetscape of single storey cottages and houses. They dominate the view of the bay along the quay from the slipway, and mask the view of the rocky coastline across the harbour.
Additionally we observe that, as residents and visitors to Bullock harbour all know only too well, there are still threats at this location due to flooding and in particular the overtopping waves and waterborne debris which deluge the site when driven by storm force winds.
We at Bullock Harbour Preservation Association will use a planning consultant and other experts to analyse the detail of Bartra’s new plan, which contains more detailed reports than before. We will be writing again to advise you of any further issues which might be covered in your Observation to DLRCC.
The reference for the new Planning Application is D22A/0006 and this may be viewed on the DLRCC Online Planning Service or in person at the Planning Department, County Hall, Marine Road (10am – 4pm, Mon-Fri). The deadline for submitting Observations/ Objections is Wednesday 9th February and these can be lodged online or in writing along with the fee of €20, which we encourage our supporters to do.
We see that the new Bartra Planning Application for the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour is on the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council website registered on 6 Jan 2022, with an observation deadline of Wednesday 9 February 2022. The Planning reference is D22A/0006 and the website link is: https://planning.agileapplications.ie/…/applicati…/91825
Observations can now be made on line. We believe that the fee to make an observation is still €20.
Notice of this latest planning application by Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd was posted to the gates of the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour on 6 January 2022. We will be advising the DLR county council reference number when this becomes available. And we will be scrutinising the detail of the application and providing more information.
Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd has withdrawn its planning appeal** from An Bord Pleanála for the proposed development at the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour. This was confirmed in a letter from An Bord Pleanála dated 4 January 2022. This excellent news means that the refusal of planning permission stands and we thank everyone involved in helping to quash this.
However, this is not the end of the matter. We understand that Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd may be submitting a new planning application for the site. This would be their third application for the Western Marine site. They have already made an initial application for a certificate of exemption from the requirement to provide social housing. This is standard practice preparatory to submission of a planning application. We await further information on the detail of any such new application and we will keep you appraised of the contents.
(** Background: Those with long memories will recall that this relates to the second Bartra planning application for the Bullock site in Dec 2017 which was refused permission by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown CC in Feb 2018. That decision was appealed by the developer to ABP who granted planning permission in June 2019, which was then the subject of our much discussed BHPA application for a Judicial Review in Aug 2019. ABP decided not to defend the case in July 2020 before the Judicial Review could be heard. The High Court Judge then quashed the planning approval and sent the case back to ABP for reconsideration. Since that date ABP have not reached any decision, and now the developer has withdrawn their appeal application from the Board.)