Irish Kennel Club distances itself from demand for development deal – The Irish Times
The Irish Kennel Club has distanced itself from claims by a property group controlled by solicitor Noel Smyth that it has a ‘form of development deal’ over the club’s prized land near Dublin Airport .
The century-old club, which promotes the breeding and ownership of dogs, has a conference and exhibition center in Cloghran adjacent to the airport which the HSE uses as a coronavirus vaccination centre. The club has developed and owns the 18-hectare National Show Center site and leases a further 12 hectares from the Airport Authority.
In official planning documents this month, Mr Smyth’s company, Fitzwilliam Real Estate Capital, told Fingal County Council it was bidding ‘on behalf’ of the IKC when seeking to change the zoning of the center to “general employment” from “green belt”. The company has also called for a review of the public safety zones around the airport, which place limits on economic activity in these areas.
Fitzwilliam’s submission to Fingal over his new development plan raised questions within the IKC ard-chomhairle, the club’s ultimate decision-making body, over whether a quick sale of the Cloghran property was being discussed , a perspective that some members oppose.
In a statement to the ard-chomhairle on Tuesday, the club’s board said Fitzwilliam’s submission to the county council was ‘purely to seek a review’ of airport security zone planning restrictions and the green belt. “It is important to note that the IKC Board has not signed any agreement, legally binding or otherwise, with Fitzwilliam or any other party.”
Mr Smyth and another property investor with interests in the wider airport area, Niall Melvin, are known to have spoken about the future of the National Show Center grounds at a February meeting of the Ard-Chomhairle. Mr. Smyth declined to comment for this article on his plans or Fingal’s submission, as did Mr. Melvin. “I wouldn’t be able to divulge commercial information to you,” Mr. Melvin said.
But February ard-chomhairle minutes seen by Irish weather quotes Sean Delmar, the club’s president, telling members that Fitzwilliam had approached the club’s board of directors.
The terms offered included Fitzwilliam buying the center for €4 million after three years if the company failed to obtain planning permission and buying it for €6 million if it received planning permission. Fitzwilliam would allocate 20/30 days for Kennel Club events as part of the agreement on a free lease for the first five years, the minutes said.
Responding yesterday to questions submitted on Monday, Mr Delmar said the statement to members of ard-chomhairle addressed the issues raised. He did not answer any further questions.
This statement, posted on the club’s website, says the board has appointed CBRE Commercial Estate Agents to provide an advisory, consultancy, valuation and negotiation service. “We have notified CBRE of Fitzwilliam’s interest and have also asked them to contact Fingal Council to inquire about their interest. If other parties express interest, they will be invited to negotiate with CBRE,” the statement read.