Bullock Harbour Preservation Association is campaigning to halt development by Bartra Property Capital Group at Bullock Harbour. The association is keen to see the site, formerly occupied by Western Marine (see main photo), developed in a safe and sustainable way that respects and promotes the maritime and historical context of the harbour, continues and increases the commercial and community uses, and takes account of both the tidal and overtopping flooding to which the site is subject. However the Bartra plans fail on all accounts. Our article below details the planning history of the site and the decisions which led to the pursuit of a Judicial Review against An Bord Pleanala by BHPA.
The site in question, immediately adjacent to the harbour, was acquired by the Bartra Property Capital Group for the development of luxury houses and apartments, with some marginal provision of commercial / community units. The planning history is this:
- Two planning applications have to date been submitted to the planning authority, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, and both applications have been refused permission.
- The developer appealed the second refusal to An Bord Pleanála (ABP) in 2018.
- Eventually this year, 2019, the ABP inspector recommended refusal of planning permission.
- The board of ABP ignored the recommendation of their own inspector and granted planning permission.
- Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association opposed this decision and sought a Judicial Review in the High Court.
- An Bord Pleanala conceded our case without going to Judicial Review. As a result, the High Court reverted the decision back to ABP for a new decision. This case is currently live.
Through this website – watch out for our news posts – Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association (BHPA) has provided information on the planning applications, on the detail of the proposals, on how to lodge “observations” with the planning authority or ABP and on action being taken to ensure that the character, heritage and working use of the harbour and the immediate area of Bulloch are preserved for the benefit of users, local people and the many visitors who enjoy this maritime amenity. You can support our campaign and the general work of the association in many ways, including financially: see our bank information scrolling down here.
Information on the planning application
Bartra’s second planning application for the Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour (see below) was refused by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in February of 2018. The application and “observations” by interested individuals and organisations, the refusal by DLRCoCo and Bartra’s appeal to An Bord Pleanala are on the DLR planning site online under the original application reference Ref D17A/1135.
Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association objected to the planning application and supported DLR’s refusal of planning permission in our submission to An Bord Pleanala in 2018. The points that we and our supporters made to these public bodies included:
- That the site is subject to flooding due to wave overtopping in north-easterly storm conditions. Huge waves crash against the rocks projecting large bodies of water and debris up to 30 metres in the air to be blown inshore and dropped on the site, particularly where the three detached houses are proposed. This was particularly evident during two violent storms over 1/2/3 March and 17/18 March 2018 when the site was totally inundated with seawater which continuously ran down the proposed access road, across the quays and into the harbour for many hours on both occasions.
- That the current W Zoning of the site in the County Development Plan includes various marine and community uses, but also allows for consideration of residential use. W Zoning does not take account of the long history of flooding on this site which makes it unsafe for residential use. Individuals were urged to record their personal experience of multiple flooding events at Bullock as to date they have never been recorded in the DLRCC or OPW Flood Reports.
- That the Specific Local Objective SLO22 for Bullock Harbour in the County Development Plan requires any development to have regard to the special nature of the area in terms of height, scale, architecture and density. The three storey quayside apartments are too high and too close to the quay, totally dominating the streetscape of existing one and two storey buildings. The bulk and height of the three storey detached houses behind dominate the skyline and coastal vista totally obscuring the granite outcrops behind.
- That the architectural style is unsympathetic to the heritage character and amenity value of the location.
- That there is inadequate provision for the potential marine and community use of the site with barely 30% for this purpose. No recognition was made by the developer of the wide range of groups using the harbour – sea kayaking, Sea Scouts, diving clubs, fishing clubs, extra-curricular adventure activities, bird and marine-life watching.
- That a high-end residential development will not be compatible with the marine and leisure activity of a working harbour and public access to the coastal rocks.
- That there are multiple concerns over inadequate parking provision and resulting traffic congestion, emergency access, drainage etc.
The current planning application is for three large (400+ sq m) “houses”, comprising three stories plus effectively a fourth floor with roof garden and structures to the rear of the site. And a structure at the end of the quay with two very big (160 sqm) apartments over a commercial unit (cafe). Both of these structures are planned to be taller than the highest building at the harbour which is the DLR pumping station that you can see to the right of the image below. A boat building workshop and tiny community units are planned but little detail is provided on how these could operate. Further comments on multiple aspects of the planning application are provided in our news posts. In the image below, we have inked in the developer’s representation of the development as the original drawings, we believe, failed to show the true impact of the size and height of their buildings.
Prior to this planning application, the Western Marine site, which comprises boatsheds and other industrial uses, was sold to Bartra who then submitted their first planning application in December 2016. This raised a furore of protest on multiple grounds. Hundreds of “observations” were lodged with the planning authority, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council who turned down the application in record time. Their lengthy rejection is available to read here.
The first planning application was dominated by luxury residential but dubbed by the press “Costa del Sol”. We had to produce our own image – see below – as the developer’s images were carefully angled to avoid sight of the three large structures to the rear.