Developer should face ‘full force of punitive measures’

By Aura McMenamin

THE developer of Larkfield House in Clondalkin should face “the full force of punitive measures” for building apartments without full planning permission, according to a local councillor.

Up to 44 families are facing eviction after An Bord Pleanála ruled that the Coldcut Road apartments appeared to be too small with regard to planning requirements.

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The Larkfield House apartment development

Permission was granted by South Dublin County Council in 2016, for 27 apartments at the former Liffey Valley Fitness centre. However up to 48 apartments were built.

Cavvies Ltd applied to SDCC for permission to increase the total of permitted apartments from 27 to 48, but this was denied in August 2017.

The developer then lodged an appeal with ABP, which was refused on March 21.

In their ruling, the Board said the proposed development “would result in substandard accommodation and inadequate residential amenity for future residents.”

"Safeguard people"

Sinn Fein Councillor Mark Ward told The Echo: “There have to be some sort of fines for bypassing guidelines and planning regulations put in place to safeguard people.

“Whatever punitive and legislative measures are out there, the full force of them should be on the developer.”

He believes Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) should have taken “due diligence” to ensure the site was “planning complaint” prior to moving HAP tenants to Larkfield.

Of the affected families, 19 are on emergency HAP schemes with the DRHE.

Another six are on council HAP schemes, and up to 19 are private cash paying renters.

Earlier this month, the council suspended assistance payments to residents following a planning inspection.

They are now in rent arrears and have been given one month's notice to quit.

"Could have taken action"

People Before Profit Councillor Madeleine Johansson said the council "could have taken action" prior to moving tenants in.

"The planning section was first notified of this on January 18, including the fact that viewings were taking place the following Saturday," she said.

“It was only when I submitted a motion to the area committee that SDCC inspected the building and took the decision in relation to HAP."

Sinn Fein TD Eoin Ó Broin, raised the issue with Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy on Tuesday, and said “every assistance must be provided to help households affected find new accommodation.”

A SDCC spokesperson said: “SDCC is working with the DRHE, Dublin City Council and the Department of Housing on the matter of families currently residing there.”

The DRHE were contacted by The Echo.

Jackie Cosgrave, a director of Cavvies Limited, did not reply to a request for comment.

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