The Hammerson-Allianz Proposals: Do they match Imagine Dundrum’s vision for our Village?
We list first some of the headline Hammerson-Allianz proposals for the Dundrum development, as outlined in the An Bord Pleanála (ABP) documents of February 2022. We then put them side by side with Imagine Dundrum’s vision of the best possible future for the Dundrum Village area, based on our long-term community engagement and our own evolving thinking. Quotations are drawn from a number of Imagine Dundrum documents, especially Imagine Dundrum’s Proposals for the Regeneration of the Old Shopping Centre site and the West side of Dundrum Village (August 2021) Read more.
1. Proposed number of apartments – 884 on a 3.38 hectare site.
Imagine Dundrum has commented that these numbers represent a very high density of building, inappropriate for the Village setting.
Note: The gross density here is approximately 262 units per hectare. For comparison, the Fernbank (Notre Dame) apartment development on Churchtown Rd Lower has around half that gross density (116), and the latest proposals for the Central Mental Hospital site give a similar figure, 111, while current proposals for the large Milltown Park apartment development cite 142 units per hectare. However, using net density (the measure used in statutory building standards) the Hammerson-Allianz proposals would yield a density of almost 340 units per hectare.
2. The proposed residential proportion of overall development is 95%. As An Bord Pleanála states, this almost wholly residential development is not appropriate for Dundrum’s Major Town Centre zoning, which requires “a greater degree of mixed use”. The proposals seem “unlikely to add to the vitality and viability of the Village area as a whole”.
The future Dundrum should be “A balanced development, with residential, office, retail and leisure elements “. (Imagine Dundrum’s Vision, 2016)
“A proper balance between residential, commercial and public/civic spaces, on the Main Street and in the overall development, restoring the original qualities of Dundrum Village.” (Support statement 2017 onward)
“Opportunities for independent businesses…a thriving night-time economy…a boutique hotel….There’s a need for a business centre…rooms to rent for meetings, and serviced offices to rent” (Imagine Dundrum Proposals, August 2021)
3. Types of apartments proposed – 40% to be 1-bed, 53% 2-bed, and 7% 3 bed. An Bord Pleanála questions if the proposals will produce “an inclusive people- friendly neighbourhood”.
The redevelopment of Dundrum must bring about “an inclusive residential community …by means of a variety of housing types and tenures”. (Imagine Dundrum Proposals August 2021)
“The plans must contribute to building a thriving community. We want to see affordable homes in the Village, and options for families for families to buy long- term homes”. (Imagine Dundrum press statement 25/1/22)
“Concepts of neighbourhood and community should drive the planning focus for a site of such strategic significance”. (Imagine Dundrum Proposals August 2021)
4. Building heights – the Hammerson-Allianz proposals are for 4-5 storeys on Main Street , rising to 8-9 and 11 on the bypass, with one tower of 16 storeys facing Sweetmount Ave. An Bord Pleanála comments that “the developer’s strategy…pays insufficient attention to integration with the predominantly 2-storey environment of Main Street” and queries “how the transition in building heights between the core of the development, Main Street and the Dundrum Bypass is handled”.
“The future Dundrum should be respectful of Dundrum’s heritage and streetscape”. (Imagine Dundrum: Vision statement 2016)
“A human scale…Building heights on and alongside Main Street must be sensitive to the original character, scale of the streetscape, and no more than 3 storeys in height …Imagine Dundrum proposes an absolute height limit on the Old Shopping Centre site of 8 storeys”. (Imagine Dundrum Proposals August 2021)
“Densification need not mean high-rise buildings…compact low-rise forms…can achieve relatively high densities while maintaining the essential sense of neighbourhood and community”. (Imagine Dundrum Proposals August 2021)
5. Public space – Hammerson-Allianz propose a public open space behind Holy Cross church. An Bord Pleanála notes that other public spaces may not be “meaningful’.
“Effective use of public space provision, including pocket parks, seating areas, and a market square integrating the site with Main Street “. (Imagine Dundrum Proposals August 2021, and original drawings 2017 by Eamon Regan, architect – see ‘Architect’s Concepts 2017’ in Gallery)
“Imagine Dundrum proposes…a ‘Design for All’ approach…accessible urban public spaces within the new development for families, people with disabilities and older people”. (Imagine Dundrum Proposals August 2021)
6. Demolition – to facilitate the new apartment development, Hammerson-Allianz propose to demolish the Old Shopping Centre and all buildings on the West side of the street except Glenville Terrace and the buildings at the crossroads already designated as Architectural Conservation Area (ACA).
Imagine Dundrum notes that an ACA designation for the historic buildings on Main Street will come into force in the forthcoming DLR County Development Plan 2022- 28, and will not permit this wholesale demolition: ”Imagine Dundrum has successfully made the case to Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council for several historic buildings on Main Street to be designated as an Architectural Conservation Area, and we call on Hammerson to respect the Council’s designation in any planning application”. (Press statement 25/1/22)
Imagine Dundrum has always sought “A lively Main Street, preserving the architectural heritage of the Village”. (Vision Statement 2016)
Imagine Dundrum emphasises the necessity for retaining and enhancing Dundrum’s “strong identity and sense of place”. (Imagine Dundrum Proposals August 2021)
It is essential to retain the sense of the (Old Shopping Centre) site as an integral part of the Village, and not a separate ‘development’….Hammerson are in effect extending an existing Village, not just building on a site”. (Imagine Dundrum Proposals August 2021)
7. Access and permeability – Hammerson-Allianz propose that all motorised access to the new development will be from the bypass. Parking is proposed for around 40% of apartments, plus 56 other spaces, and generous bicycle parking.
An Bord Pleanála questions the ‘permeability’ and ‘connectivity’ of the whole site and queries how well it links with all the elements in the immediate built environment.
Imagine Dundrum envisages the future Dundrum Village as “a connected environment, friendly to pedestrians and cyclists”. (Vision Statement 2016 ).