Initial Thoughts

From an initial review of the planning application:

  1. The application is effectively an enlarged version of a planning application (DA70314) that was refused by Meath County Council in 2007.  It is not clear that any of the reasons for the refusal of this application have been addressed – indeed the problems seem to have grown.
  2. The new proposal is for a three storey building rather than two, 16 bedrooms rather than 12, but has just eight car spots rather than 12.
  3. Meath County Council apparently advised (Sub section 4.1 of the proposal) Thornton O’Connor not call the new proposal an apartment block!
  4. With four 4-bedroom dwellings, the building seems to be optimized for rentals and sub-lets – presumably with 32 plus tenants.
  5. The very high density of the development is justified (#6.4) on the basis that there is very “low density development elsewhere in Ratoath”.  This seems a deliberate attempt to distract from the context of the form and pattern of development in the immediate vicinity of the proposed building.
  6. The minimum possible number of car parking spaces provided (#6.6) – two per dwelling, i.e. just eight in total.  This is far too low for the number of bedrooms, extensive street/pavement parking by both residents and visitors is inevitable.
  7. Whilst the height of the proposed apartment building (#3.3) may not exceed a previous approved application to build two detached houses on the site, that is third-story to chimney pot!  The building will dominate the view of neighboring dwellings.
  8. The proposed development fails (#6.5) to provide adequate provision of open space and gardens for residents, and as such is a sub-standard development.  Whilst “a study” is offered, in practice it seems to be assumed that resident’s children will play on either the road or utilise the common areas of the Seagrave Hall estate.
  9. The proposal incorrectly claims (#2.1) that a bus stop 270m away provides “access to Dublin via bus routes 103 and 105”.  The 105 bus doesn’t go in to Dublin, it terminates at Connelly Hospital, Blanchardstown.  The 103 bus doesn’t even run down Fairyhouse Road!  There are no direct bus services to Dublin excepting a very small number (3) of eXpress services between 8 and 9 am.  The poor public transport infrastructure will potentially result in higher car ownership by residents of the bulding.
  10. The goggle maps view (figure 2.2) appears to date from about 2007, and fails to show the now mature trees which will apparently be cut down – a considerable loss both aesthetically and to local wild life.
  11. The proposed apartment building will connect to existing public water and sewage facilities, it is not clear that these have the capacity to cope with an addition of this scale.
  12. Overall, the proposed apartment building will dominate the entrance to Seagrave Hall and overlook neighboring properties.  Its form, density, size and scale is wholly inappropriate for the area, and if it proceeds it will seriously degrade the amenities for existing residents, e.g. in regards to privacy and daylight/sunlight.  [Thus failing to meet the requirements of the Meath County Development Plan 2013-19]

20 thoughts on “Initial Thoughts”

  1. All very good points. I would also mention the potential for traffic problems:

    1) It is already difficult at times to get out on to the FHR. A roundabout had been proposed in the past.
    2) It can be very difficult to see to the right as we come out of the estate due to bushes. Will the new wall be nearer the road or further back.
    3) The entrance will be very close to both the main road and the entrance to the top green.
    4) Traffic considerations during any building works.
    5) Cleanup and restoration of SGH road after works.

    1. Hi John, Good suggestions. Terri and myself (1 Seagrave) will certainly be submitting a comment letter, and I will be attempting to distil a synopsis of the points being raised. Looks like it will be a long letter!

  2. Makes no reference to traffic analysis at the existing entrance to the estate and the location of the new car park being so close to the entrance.

    Visitor parking / over spill is not accounted for, does this push into the existing communal parking in Seagrave hall?

    No mention of sewage or water issues raised in previous refused permission

  3. Fantastic work done Richard! You have spent alot of time on this.Thank you!
    I agree with all the above comments especially that concerning;
    -additional traffic at an already perilous entrance, both during short term building works and long term living.
    – water pressure and issues with drainage and sewage which may arise.
    -overflow parking for new residents which will invariably be on the edges of footpaths/on footpaths close to the new development rather than in spaces in Seagrave Hall, this will be extremely dangerous for traffic, cyclists and walkers alike especially at school times, entering and exiting SGH.
    -lack of space in the new area for children to play which will mean uninvited non-residents playing in SGH estate which in the past has caused us problems
    – most of all the aesthetics of the development as we enter our estate during building works and long term will be awful, including the removal of mature trees.

    If there is anything else we can do please let us know!

    1. Personally I think the traffic related problems are one of the worst aspects of the proposal. The new entrance will be badly positioned, effectively making a crossroad near a blind corner. Interestingly the plan doesn’t show this – the de-facto junction being hidden by an elevation view of the building. A co-incidence? The lack of parking is a huge issue – 16 bedrooms presumably equates to about 32 residents (some single rooms, but others with bunk beds). On a typical evening there will surely be about 16 cars, plus a few more for visitors. That equates to 10+ cars parked on street.

  4. Yes, thank you Richard for organising our objections. We at Number 2 agree with everything that’s been said already.
    1) The proposed dwellings are completely unsuitable for our existing estate. It is just pure greed on the part of the developer to propose these. I’m sure none of us expect the land to remain vacant forever, but two houses, similar to those in our estate in size, style and colour would be acceptable to most people.
    2) We completely agree with the concerns regarding traffic problems. The access in to the proposed dwellings is far too close to the entrance to our estate and would seriously increase the risk of accidents there.
    3) The photo included in the plans, which is so out of date, does not show the current maturity of the trees and indeed the lovely hedge that now borders the site. The hedge would definitely have to go and what about our lovely trees and the birds they house?
    4) Having viewed the “Reasons for Refusal” on the 2007 Planning Application, the same points would surely apply to this application, to an even greater extent in fact.

    We would be interested to hear your opinions on which is the best way to submit our objections. Should they be submitted as one document, with signatories and their comments included, or should we be sending multiple single objections to the Council?

    Also, would anyone be interested in meeting up to discuss progress? Some people might prefer this rather than posting their comments online.

    Regards
    Geraldine, Steve and Conor

    1. Hi Geraldine
      There was a previous application for a building with 6 two-bedroom room apartments which Meath CC refused as being high density accommodation inappropriate for the site. They subsequently approved a plan for two detached houses. Whilst I for one would have preferred the site to remain vacant and become a de-facto wild life reserve, I was realistic and accepted this decision as being reasonably appropriate for the site. Owr are now trying to get this permission amended to allow a building that was even worse than the original proposal.

      >We would be interested to hear your opinions on which is the best way to submit our objections.
      For maximum impact with MCC Planning I’m hoping that both bases are covered. I.e. that there are a reasonable number of individual comment letters from the households most affected, but that we also collect a list of supporting signatories for persons & houses who would prefer not to submit their own observations letter. The list can be included in the letter that I plan to submit (1 Seagrave Hall).

      Please see http://www.meath.ie/CountyCouncil/Planning/SubmissionsObservations-PlanningApplications/ on how to submit comments.

  5. Number 34, count on our support for whatever is required. All your points Richard are valid and none of the objection issues in 2007 have been addressed. As mentioned by Geraldine, the site was going to be developed but that development has to be fit for purpose, which this application is clearly not.

    Kind regards
    Rob and Gill

    1. Hi Rob and Gill, Thanks for the comments.

      I’m going to draft a letter which will need to be submitted by Richard & Terri of 1 Seagrave Hall, but I’m hoping to attach a list of supporting signatures. We will probably come round the estate on Saturday (29 July) to do this.

      I’m not sure whether to put the draft letter on this site. Keep the powder dry? Or is that already to late?

  6. Given the clear cut reasons for rejection of the 2007 proposal (basically high density housing totally inappropriate for the site & location), I’m very puzzled why Owr Construction think that an even bigger building with even more serious problems has any chance of being approved. But the architects – Thornton – have apparently met with Meath CoCo Planning several times – have they been given the heads-up that times & rules have changed? Or are they thinking that it is worth speculating a few thousands on a long-shot that just might get approved, and will make them a load of money if they get lucky. Their worse case is that they just build the two houses that they already have planning permission for – and which no one has objected to.
    Richard

  7. David and Lucia Moloney @ No. 5

    Agree with all points raised, with some further thoughts to add

    1. Concerns on Sight lines given this new development will create a 3rd exit onto the existing approach road to and from our estate which enters onto a T junction with main Fairyhouse road.

    2. Health and safety concerns regarding point 1 above, ie increasing risk of accident to pedestrians due to increased traffic movements and further congestion as a direct result of this new development , i.e. there is approx 60 number children going to primary and second level school passing by this area twice a day.

    3. Increased likelihood that there will be a traffic spillover into Seagrave Hall estate as the new parking provision is limited.

    4. Point that has to be made here is Over Development of the site given that applications were refused by Meath County Council previously.

    5. Overshadowing issues that this development will have on existing estate.

    6. Visual aspect in relation to the existing Seagrave Hall estate, i.e. Out of place with the existing adjacent housing on the Fairyhouse road.

    7. The inclusion of photos as part of any objection is recommended and suggest that these form part of objection. This will capture the real issues best, namely the existing approach and estate roads , adjacent housing. Point to note here is that the application contains elongated photo of the existing approach road where the new exit will be located in reality this is not the case. There seems to be an abscence of real dimensions in the application particularly in respect of distances to main road and existing estate roads etc.

    8. General impact of the additional accommodation, increased demand on existing infrastructure, i.e. drainage, water supply, management of waste removal , adequate site lighting including to existing approach road etc.

    9. Immediate impact of construction works phase, and if worst case scenario works get approved, restrictions should be requested on working hours during weekdays and especially at weekends as well as parking and road cleaning etc.

    Hope this helps.

    David & Lucia

    1. Hi Dave
      A very substantive list of important points. I would really appreciate your assistance in drafting my letter of observations to MCC Planning.
      Richard

      1. Hi Richard

        No problem to help out

        I think most things have been captured by now from all so after this weekend the next step is to pull it together and submit before time runs out.

        Speak soon
        Dave

  8. Richard and Terri,

    Thanks for bringing all this information to our attention.

    I agree with all of the comments above.

    1. Infringement of privacy.
    2. Overflow parking
    3. Lack of an amenity area, which will lead the upper green to be considered as theirs.

    We will certainly be supporting a joint or individual objection to these development proposals.

    Niall & Emer No.18

    1. Thanks for the comments. Giving permission to this application will set a precedent for other inappropriate high density developments in the area. The vacant site at the right hand side of the entrance to Seagrave Hall is one obvious instance. The field at the bottom of the Seagrave Hall estate and beside St Olivers Park is another strong possibility. Indeed, does anyone know the current status of this?

  9. Richard,

    Further to the comments above

    I would also make sure that there is a photographic record of the current site. As per point 7 (David and Lucia) traffic is critical. Given that there are multiple exits onto this area already, two business spilling (Petrol Station and Creche) onto the road and an unofficial bus stop that blocks traffic, this is important. Also proposed linkages into existing sewage and water (where the pressure is already quite low) infrastructure would seem to be inappropriate.

    In determining the site boundaries between the proposed development and the bungalow next door, it would be interesting to note if the trees form part of the boundary and do they then require permission from the bungalow on the Fairyhouse Road to be removed (including the hedge).

    Parking is definitely going to be an issue. It is reasonable to assume that there will be 50% more cars at the site than the 8 described. These look like units that be rented, therefore there will be cars parked in the road/on the footpath or in the the upper green parking areas.

    The rear wall site boundary of the houses at no 1 / 2 / 3 Seagrave Hall, boundaries would need to be checked here as I believe the boundary as constructed may be back several feet from the actual boundaries, as per the walls behind no 37, 36, and so on around the whole site in Seagrave. (In general, the site boundaries for all of the development would have to be verified)

    In terms of lodging an objection, if there is a cost of the objection, I would propose that this should be paid from the residents association management fund if there are funds available, as this impacts all Seagrave Hall residents.

    Potentially the piece of land opposite to this area at the entrance to Seagrave Hall, if this goes through, could then be become the focus of a development roughly half the size of the current proposal. This would further place pressure on traffic, parking and general infrastructure.

    To have this reviewed very clinically it may need an architect to review and comment for the objection, so if anyone is friendly with one it maybe appropriate to pull a favour.

    Sean

  10. No. 26.

    Richard & Terri, thank you for organising this.

    In relation to all the above points, you have our full support.

    Joanne & Mark McNally

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *