The Character of Mount Merrion

This article seeks to open a debate amongst residents on what is meant by the character of the area, in particular when referenced in planning applications and comments on them. It is hoped that such a debate might lead to an agreed definition that might form the basis of MMRA planning policy going forward. You comments and observations are welcome. Please submit any thoughts you have to


Recent decisions by DLRCoCo and An Bord Pleanala to refuse developments in Mount Merrion seem to confirm that these Planning Authorities are adopting the relevant provisions of the current DLRCoCo County Development Plan 2022 – 2028. In particular the refusals use the wordings of key provisions such Zoning Objective “A” (which applies to most of Mount Merrion), Policy Objective HER 21, and Clause (infill Development):

“. . . would negatively impact on the visual amenity and character of the area . . . “

In earlier years, potential developers seemed to feel encouraged by occasional Government Directives to seek developments that exceeded the provisions of the 2016 -2021 Development Plan that had little empathy with the character of the existing area. So what is the character of the Mount Merrion area that residents should seek to “protect and enhance”? The profile of the residents in Mount Merrion has changed significantly in recent years and no doubt the attitude of current residents may need to be re-assessed. MMRA would consider that all residents (even those who currently do not support the MMRA) would share the general aspiration of the MMRA to “protect and enhance the visual amenity and character of the area”. The following schedule is set out to encourage residents to agree/to disagree/to comment upon with the view to reinforcing the on-going mandate for the MMRA.

Buildings + Frontage

1. The general type of layout and construction of the residential dwellings in the Mount Merrion area is well regarded as being of distinctive Architectural merit of the 20th century. Do residents wish to maintain this long standing character and if so will they contribute to the necessary effort?

2. The following is a non-exhaustive list of items that have been observed (either as proposed or actually constructed) in recent times that are not in empathy with the traditional character of the area:

  • flat roofs rather the traditional than sloping /hipped slated roofs for the main dwellings;
  • random rooflights on the front sloping roofs instead of none or restricting such rooflights to the rear or side elevations of the dwelling;
  • solar panels on the front sloping roofs instead of restricting such panels to the rear or side elevations of the dwelling
  • large wide glass panel windows rather than the traditional narrow glass panes with side opening all generally in white coloured timber;
  • smooth plaster finish instead of the traditional distinctive feature plaster generally painted white;
  • large glass wall panels brought down to ground level rather than traditional windows resting on standard height dwarf walls.

3. Recent Planning decisions by DLRCoCo and An Bord Pleanala have refused Planning Applications for proposed dwellings in back gardens. There is however a significant increase in the construction of single storey (large) recreational type structures in back gardens. 4. Recent Planning decision by DLRCoCo refused a planning application for “change of use” from standard dwelling to “short term leases”.


1. Typically the front boundaries in Mount Merrion have been low level masonry (brick or plastered blockwork) with low level hedges and/or open metal railings (most painted black and many with feature designs). Typically gates have been matching open metal railings. Some residents have replaced the gates with solid timber (or other materials). Other residents have updated their gates (and adjoining fences) with new (often electrically operated) gates that clearly do not match/enhance the traditional style.

2. MMRA would encourage residents to maintain their front hedges so that general visual aspect of the area is maintained. Such maintenance would also respect the rights of neighbours and protect against potential health and safety issues caused by narrowing of public footpaths.

3. MMRA would encourage residents to maintain the low level masonry walls, many of which are deteriorating with age. Tasteful reconstruction with matching bricks would be much more in keeping with than painting the original natural brick finish.

Public Roads and Footpaths

1. DLRCoCo have limited resources so residents should assist DLRCoCo to remove unsightly weeds/grass growth along the boundary wall/footpath junction and along roadside kerbs. Occasional maintenance outside each residents dwelling would benefit the general area and greatly reduce the workload of those MMRA volunteers who carry out such work throughout Mount Merrion.

2. MMRA would encourage residents to remove debris and growing vegetation that prevents rain water discharging into roadside kerb gulley gratings. This would prevent flood water increasing in volume along steeply sloping roads.

3. Prevent dirt; gravel etc. exiting from front driveways on to public surfaces – to reduce safety issues for both pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

4. Ensure that debris from hedge/trees trimming is fully removed by the Contactor from public areas and neighbouring properties before that Contractor is fully paid.

5. Ensure that house owners and/or their Contractors minimise discolouration/abuse of the public footpath and road surfaces.

6. Ensure that Contractors debris does not collect in/on top of rainwater roadside gulley gratings to prevent blockages and potential flooding of public footpaths.

7. Cars should not be driven on to nor parked on existing grass verges.

Management of Contractors during Works

1. When residents appoint contractors to carry out construction works on their property, they should give consideration to the impact of the works on immediate neighbours. Contracts with the selected contractors should include for mitigation of such impacts.

2. The following non-exhaustive list of mitigation would be welcomed by near neighbours.

  • Prior to starting on site, the contractor should distribute to immediate neighbours a summary of contract details e.g. contractor site Manager contacts, start date, target completion date, intermediate target dates for particular impact (large machinery, heavy trucks, craneage etc.)
  • Utility connections that might interrupt local supplies etc.
  • During the works the contractor should update his details.
  • Contractors should be instructed to ensure that no windblown dust, paper/plastic or other building debris is allowed to enter neighbouring properties.
  • During the works, Contractors should be instructed to issue timely warning notices of particular events such as loud noises, heavy vibration etc.
  • Contractors should be discouraged from covering their front and side hoardings with many colourful advertisement signs.

Regulations for skips on Public Roads

1. The provision of waste skips for residents and/or contractors carrying out work for residents are governed by DLRCoCo Byelaws “Skips on Public Roads”.

2. Residents are encouraged to study the Byelaws and should ensure that the temporary skip should be provided and maintained in accordance with the Byelaws.

3. A non-exhaustive list of observed non-compliances include:

  • Skips too near the footpath kerb and hence blocking the natural discharge of rainwater run-off;
  • Skips too far from the footpath kerbs hence causing traffic congestion;
  • Skips unlit and/or without mandatory reflective strips and hence not easily seen;
  • Mandatory telephone numbers not displayed prominently on the sides of the skip, hence the supplier cannot be contacted.
  • Skips filled too high and not protected from windblown dispersion

Health and Safety

1. Many roofing contractors seem to ignore basic Health and Safety Regulations particularly in respect of roofing works on sloping roofs e.g. not wearing helmets, not installing protective fall and arrest measures/safety harnesses etc. The risk of severe injuries/death caused by falling from high level roofs always exists. Subject to specific legal advice in respect of any particular incident, residents should be aware that the owner of the dwelling may be held legally criminally liable – it is not solely a matter for a non-compliant contractor.



April 2024