On the 10th of October, three weeks after the deadline for submission of public objections and one month before a decision was due from the Planners at Dublin City Council, Crakav Landbank Investments unexpectedly withdrew their planning application for 86 houses and 270 apartments on the 15 acres of St. Paul’s playing fields in St. Anne’s.
No reason was given for the withdrawal beyond a brief letter from the Developer to Dublin City Council stating that they have taken the decision to withdraw the application to enable them “carry out more extensive investigations in relation to the site.”
This is not the first time that Crekav have withdrawn an application. In September of last year, a plan for 169 housing units in Finglas, lodged in the name of New Generation Homes (another Crekav company) was unexpectedly withdrawn without explanation. http://www.dublinpeople.com/news/northsidewest/articles/2015/10/22/4107714-two-major-plans-withdrawn/ While no new application was lodged for Finglas, it is highly likely that Crekav will submit a revised application for St. Paul’s. (See attached Irish Times report). http://www.irishtimes.com/business/construction/developers-withdraw-planning-application-for-raheny-scheme-1.2827514
Anyone who has been following this issue will be aware that Crekav submitted their first application for St. Paul’s in October 2015. When all 220 objections were in and uploaded to the Dublin City Council website for public viewing, it was discovered that the planning application had been made in the name of a non-existent company (the company name was not registered with the Company’s Registration Office). This led to the automatic rejection of the application, Crekav apologized for their mistake.
They quickly submitted another application in the correct name and the public were obliged to re-submit their objections, which Crekav had already had time to review and consider due to the original clerical error on the company name.
269 objections were lodged in February 2016 to this re-submitted application.
Because of the range of issues and concerns raised by members of the public in their objections, Dublin City Council issued Crekav with a Request for Further Information. Crekav’s response to this RFI was to submit significantly altered plans; while the number of units were reduced by only 6%, substantial changes had been made across the site and a local solicitor challenged Dublin City Council’s decision to allow this as a response to an RFI rather than requiring the developer to submit an entirely new application.
The public once again had an opportunity to comment on this new information. 159 people lodged objections to the RFI, amid much confusion as to what their new objection should entail and whether or not previous objections would still count.
On the date of its withdrawal, more than 600 objections had been lodged to this application over the course of 12 months.
While this issue is of major concern to those who live in the vicinity of St. Anne’s, not least because of the loss of playing facilities for local juvenile teams, objectors have come from across the city and represent all those who use and love St. Anne’s Park.
Additionally, the official objections, while quite remarkable in number and geographic spread, do not reflect the 5000 plus online signatures and comments from across the country and around the world.
To conclude, we do not know why this application was withdrawn at this time.
We believe that among the hundreds of objections and observations submitted, including one from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, there were several strong grounds for refusing this application outright. Crekav may have wanted to avoid an embarrassing refusal which would not sit well with their overseas investors or which would not be to their advantage in the event of an appeal to An Bord Pleanala. All we can do now is wait and see what happens next.
If you would like to read some of the objections, they are currently available here: http://www.dublincity.ie/AniteIM.WebSearch/Results.aspx Alternatively, you might like to view a sample of some of the more interesting ones, using these links:
Objection – Flooding in St. Anne’s 00583742-m-j-ronin-objection
Observations – Department of Arts Heritage Gaeltacht 00583750-dept-arts-heritage-gaeltacht-observation
Objection – Trees in St. Anne’s 00584117-eoin-oleary-objection
Objection – 00584736-peter-smyth-objection
Objection – Birds and Wildlife in St. Annes f-oconnor-objection