By Finian Coghlan
KILDARE Co Council may soon have 152 new neighbours, but they won’t have any say in the decision as to whether the project gets the go-ahead or not.
Plans were lodged recently with An Bord Pleanála (ABP) to build 152 apartments in nine blocks on a 2.1Ha (5.25ac) site at Devoy Quarter, directly behind the Áras Chill Dara the council’s HQ..
The reason the council does not get to rule on this €32m development is it has been lodged with the State’s planning board as a Strategic Housing Development (SHD).
This was a method of fast-tracking house-building introduced by the Government three years ago to alleviate the housing crisis, wherein developers planning 100 housing units or more would bypass their local authority and apply straight to ABP for permission.
In this case, the builders are a Maynooth-based family firm the McGrath Property Group, who will construct the site through the Group’s development arm Randelswood Holdings, overseen by Downey Planning.
The development will consist of 54 one-bed, 73 two-bed, and 25 three-bed apartments in nine blocks, ranging between three and five storeys.
There will also be a single storey crèche with outdoor play areas and capacity for up to 36 children to be built on-site, as well as a community building on site.
All apartments will have their own private balconies or terraces.
The development will also provide 175 car parking spaces, six motorcycle spaces and 190 bicycle spaces.
It will have two new vehicular entrances off Devoy Road, and four pedestrian access points.
The McGraths first applied in 2007 for 90 apartments on the site, but this was prudently withdrawn in 2008.
They applied again in 2009 to build 84 apartments, an application which was extended on 11 August 2015, and which still doesn’t expire until 26 July 2020, but which has been rendered moot by SHD legislation.
The McGraths had their first meeting with Kildare Co Council on 6 December 2018, where 15 units were identified for Part V, and designated as ‘social and affordable’.
Their first meeting with ABP was in January 2020, and a decision is due from them by 17 September.