Monkstown residents fight to save 10 acre garden and 200 mature treesPadraig Conlon 18 Jan 2023
THE community of Monkstown and surrounding areas say they are determined to stop American real estate giant Greystar’s plans for an LRD development in Monkstown Village.
Dalguise House, built in 1896, sits on grounds of 10 acres that is home to more than 200 mature trees.
A previous plan to develop on the site last year was quashed among concerns that the development would be overly-dense and would be a detriment to the local environment and biodiversity.
GDV Monkstown Owner Ltd, a subsidiary of Greystar, has applied for permission to develop a Build to Rent scheme consisting of 10 blocks of apartments up to 9 stories high.
The application was made to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council under new LRD (Large Residential Development) legislation that replaced SHD’s.
Seventy observations on Greystar’s plans were submitted to the Council, including from the Monkstown Road Residents Association, the Irish Georgian Society, Richard Boyd Barrett PBP, TD and Councilor David Quinn, the Social Democrats all of whom oppose the development.
A petition was launched last week calling on the developer to withdraw plans for its high density Build to Rent development and for the Local Authority to refuse permission.
The petition has already garnered 500 signatures and has been signed by Environmental Activist Flossie Donnelly of Flossie and the Beach Cleaners and musician Christy Moore.
Douglas Barry, Chairperson of the Monkstown Residents Association, signed the petition and left a comment saying: “This is a protected building within an entire site curtilage of Georgian heritage gardens. It is the largest one in the Dun Laoghaire-Monkstown area and must be protected from devastation. It should be turned into a public park , not made into a Monkstown Manhatten.”
Petition organiser Nicola Coleman said that most people were unaware of Dalguise despite its being just a stone’s throw from Monkstown village.
For years it was hidden behind large gates at the end of a narrow lane off the main road. But thanks to technology like Google Earth, one can now appreciate its beauty and legacy.
Coleman says that when most people discover Dalguise they share Mr Barry’s view and understand why the house and its woodland should be protected from developers like Greystar.
She commented that “the proposed development is an assault on the ecology and biodiversity of the Monkstown Valley” and that the importance of protecting it is widely understood.
Ms Coleman went on to describe how people are angry that promises made for planning reform and a return to local democracy were hollow.
“Instead of restoring democracy in planning, government have legislated to put local authorities under the cosh of the Office of the Planning Regulator and the Ministerial SPPR’s,” she told Southside People.
“What’s more is that we are expected to have faith in the disgraced An Bórd Pleanala to hear appeals.
“People remember that this legislation was passed through the Dáil despite a lack of proper debate. Even members who voted to support the legislation weren’t allotted enough time to read it.”
A ministerial directive from Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien prevents DLRCOCO from implementing sections of its County Development plans that would severely restrict plans for Build to Rent developments, a move that is widely seen as a restriction on due process and democratic debate in planning matters.
Coleman, and other campaign supporters, have maintained that despite attempts to mute dissent in planning matters, communities have become more determined than ever to protect their history, character, and natural environment.
“We are making connections and joining forces,” Coleman said.
“People want affordable housing that is environmentally sustainable.
“We should not be tearing up every last bit of nature for development designed to secure a never-ending outflow of resources from tenants to shareholders.
“The petition (which can be read and signed here: change.org/nohighrisemonkstown) offers people a chance to voice their concerns about environmental and heritage conservation, the environment, and housing, as well as a chance to join the campaign.”