Developers submit fresh plans with much lower apartments and less commercial space
The new-look scheme for the Union Cafe site in Mount Merrion
Property development company Oakmount has submitted a fresh planning application to develop a mixed-use scheme on the Union Cafe (formerly Kiely’s) site in Mount Merrion, where it was previously refused planning last year by the local council and An Bord Pleanála.
The developer appears to have scrapped its initial plans and started afresh, bringing in architects Cathal O’Neill & Associates, who designed the apartment block that was granted planning permission on the neighbouring Flanagans site last year.
Oakmount, which is headed by Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan, has scaled back the scheme significantly, with the proposed buildings ranging in height from three to four stories maximum, including setback penthouse levels – in sharp contrast to its previous plans, which included structures of up to seven stories in height, which attracted almost 340 objections from locals.
The duo say that they have listened to the council, neighbours and the planning board’s comments when designing the latest scheme. Other key changes include reducing the commercial space by 60 per cent, which will mean dropping a supermarket, other shops and a gym, and a full basement level, likely to result in the proposed development generating significantly less traffic. While the previous plans proposed three vehicular entrances, the latest plans feature just one, the existing entrance on Wilson Road. The existing Deerpark Road entrance will be closed off.
In all, 50 apartments are proposed across two buildings comprising 11 one-bed, 30 two-bed and nine three-bed units. A third building will house Union Cafe and Kennedy’s pub, the two establishments that currently occupy the existing structures on the site.
In spite of opposition from locals, a number of housing developments have been granted planning permission in the area since 2016. These include a large apartment scheme at the Flanagans site on Deerpark Road and a 63-unit development at Cherrygarth by Pat Crean’s Marlet. Meanwhile, businessman David Doyle has been refused planning permission for a 47-unit housing development at Thornhill House solely on the basis that the council considered the plans would not provide sufficient open space for the existing house, which is a protected structure.