Covered below is a press release which was reported upon in the Southside People as the lead front page story and also on page two of the Dublin Gazette (South Edition) on November 1st 2017:
Press Release: Audible Gasp from Councillors to Visual Impact of UCD Residences Upon Clonskeagh
At the meeting of the Dundrum Area Committee held on 23rd October, the councillors from the Stillorgan, Dundrum and Glencullen-Sandyford electoral wards were presented with the photomontages of numerous residential blocks totalling to 512 accommodation units proposed for the UCD Campus as submitted as a Strategic Housing Development to An Bórd Pleanala.
Cllr. John Kennedy comments as follows: “When presented with the photomontages of one part of the scheme approximating to 7 storeys facing upon Roebuck Road and the Ardilea Estate in Clonskeagh, there was an audible gasp from the councillors present in reaction to the sheer scale and incompatibility to the surrounding residential area. I have never been in any previous meeting of councillors before where such a sharp intake of breath was instantly palpable in relation to a given proposal.”
Cllr. Kennedy continued: “It was clear from councillors that a need for increased numbers of student residences are required and there was tolerance expressed at the meeting for such accommodation once set back appropriately within the campus itself, as some of the proposed blocks are. What was not appreciated was the extent to which one part of the scheme represents an onerous and overbearing impact upon a well-established and well-regarded residential area in Clonskeagh.”
Cllr. Kennedy outlined: “This sort of scenario highlights the need yet again for an open and frank debate regarding the striking of a balance between the building of new accommodation to meet housing needs while at the same respecting sylvan surroundings in existing residential areas. There must be more architectural congruency evident and new high-density designs should be more complementary to their existing surroundings. I would point to Paris and also the relatively recent London Housing Design Guide as possible templates for Dublin to follow in that respect. The Government document “Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas” is often availed of to justify higher density, but it should not be forgotten that Section 3.4 of that document is supposed to provide for an adequate design context to be adhered to, and my viewpoint is that this is not being respected properly in relation to the part of the scheme impacting upon residential areas in Clonskeagh, and it should be altered accordingly.”
He concluded: “A new housing design guide encouraging more sympathetic designs for high-density accommodation is urgently required for Dublin and if one is not developed then public confidence over new accommodation is likely to diminish further generally in the wake of increased incidences of attempts to force-feed monolithic blocks into residential areas. Why can’t there be more architectural imagination in an apartment-building context?”.