RPS Secures Planning Permission for New National Forensic Mental Service Hospital

21.08.15

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for a new National Forensic Mental Service Hospital in Portrane, County Dublin.

The new facility is to replace the existing Central Mental Hospital located in Dundrum, Dublin. The proposed 25,324m² development will comprise a 170 bedroom campus hospital on a site of approximately 12.9 hectares. This includes a 130 bed forensic service, a 30 bed intensive care rehabilitiation unit and a 10 bed forensic child and adolescent mental health unit. It will be the only centre in the state providing mental health care in conditions of maximum and medium security.

RPS has provided strategic planning support to the national Health Service Executive (HSE) and design team from the inception of the project to date. This included the management of a feasibility study for the lands to allow for a variation to the Fingal County Development Plan. RPS also prepared the SEA Report on behalf of Fingal County Council.

The site, within the grounds of St. Ita’s Hospital (112 hectares), provided a number of challenges to the design and environmental team. St. Ita’s is a large red-brick building complex dating from the late 1800s/early 1900s which includes a series of protected structures and is an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). The site also has a number of Development Plan Designations for protection of woodland and amenities as well as protected views. The site is located in a ‘High Amenity’ zoning under the Fingal County Development Plan which presented challenges to the provision of the hospital.

As part of the planning services for the project, the RPS Planning team led a series of pre-application consultations with the Board, the planning authority and local organisations. We also managed and co-ordinated the EIS for the project and prepared a response to the issues raised by local stakeholders in relation to the project. A Site Selection Report was also prepared by RPS examining potential alternative sites from an environmental perspective.