South Dublin tennis club slams student accommodation plan

Donnybrook Lawn Tennis Club says it is ‘not a public park’ and has a reasonable expectation not to be excessively overlooked

The Donnybrook Lawn Tennis Club has claimed that plans for a 10-storey, 225-bed student accommodation development “exceed the densities of Manhattan by some way”.

A strongly worded objection against the Red Rock Donnybrook Ltd scheme told Dublin City Council it would have an “enormous” impact on the tennis club.

The large-scale residential development application is to comprise 193 bedrooms in the purpose-built student accommodation and would also include a cafe or retail unit.

Planning consultants for the applicants, John Spain Associates have told the council the proposed development would provide an appropriate form of high-quality accommodation at the site.


Mr Spain stated the scheme would provide “for an effective and efficient use of this underutilised site”.

However, the Donnybrook Lawn Tennis Club is opposing it on the grounds of overdevelopment, overlooking and height.

The club, established in 1896 and now with 800 members, claims the scheme “constitutes gross overdevelopment of the site”.

“Donnybrook Tennis Club is a private club and has a reasonable expectation not to be excessively overlooked. It is not a public park,” it said.

The objection stated that the planned 10-storey scheme overlooks all of its outdoor courts and “is effectively a tall grandstand which would afford the residents of the new development front access to the activities of the club”.

The submission stated that the club has a very significant junior membership ranging from five to 16 years of age.

As in all sports clubs, it explained, Donnybrook has a strict protocol in relation to child protection and “the excessive overlooking that would be caused by this scheme may compromise our ability to ensure that these strict controls are maintained”.

The club stated that the 10-storey tower “will dominate the skyline of Donnybrook and tower over the grounds of Donnybrook tennis club”.

Although developers and their architects use terms such as “gateway” and “landmark” to justify tall buildings, Donnybrook already has landmark buildings such as the church and Dublin Bus Garage, it said.

The Herbert Park Area Residents Association has also opposed the scheme as the proposal will not advance sustainable long-term residency in Donnybrook.

The Eglinton Residents Association lodged an objection with the council. Its chair, Robin Mandal, told the council that the scheme would be out of character with the pattern of development in the area.

Red Rock has been trying to develop the 0.131 hectare site over the past three years and has encountered stiff local opposition.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times