A developer has applied for planning permission for nine houses and forty-two apartments on a corner site in Blackrock. For more than ten years now, the former Mazda Europa garage in Blackrock village has been falling into dereliction. This is a prominent site of an acre and a quarter, that faces Blackrock House on Newtown Avenue.
In 2005, MSL applied for permission for 69 apartments in two 5 and 6 storey blocks. They eventually got their permission but the financial crash put an end to the plans. Since then, the planning permission expired and the site has changed hands several times. There have been two further failed attempts to obtain permission to redevelop the site for residential use.
Now the owner has re-applied for permission and has tried to change the scheme to address the reasons for which the most recent plans were refused last year. In this article, I am going to examine the new plans.
The 2015 scheme was rejected for being too large and overlooking or overshadowing houses in Newtown Villas (tramway cottages) and to the South on Newtown Avenue. The new plans propose a height of 4 storeys with stepping down to 3 storeys at the Southern boundary and along Newtown Villas. The proposed buildings are still very close to the rear of No.s 1 and 2 Newtown Villas and may loom over the garden of No 61 Newtown Avenue.
Layout and form
The last scheme was rejected for being of poor quality design, too generic, and out of keeping with the neighbouring houses. The revised plans have tried to be less monotonous by using a mixture of surfaces ( brick and render), various sizes of windows, and by breaking up the streetscape with balconies, and alcoves.
The exit from the last scheme was considered hazardous due to the pedestrian sightlines. The new scheme uses a relocated entrance. However the road outside is one-way and this proposal brings another 51 households to a road that is very congested at rush hour.
The new scheme provides more open amenity space than previously proposed.
All of the parking (67 spaces) is to be underground.
Built and Natural heritage
The sycamore tree is to be kept, while it is planned to demolish the old tram sheds with their blue-beamed gables.
All in all, it looks to me like an improvement on what went before, but there’s nothing very special or remarkable about it.
I’d prefer to see the historical tram sheds retained – they are something of a landmark but are not included in the architectural conservation area that covers neighbouring Newtown Villas.
I will make a submission to the council planners on this proposal. Let me know what you think.