independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Golfer O'Connor takes council to court over planning refusal

GOLFER Christy O'Connor Jnr is taking a council to the High Court after it denied him an extension on planning permission to build three houses on family land in his native Galway.

Galway City Council has refused to extend the normal five-year duration on the permission he obtained in 2008 for the one-acre site at Knocknacarra, Salthill, the court heard.

The council argues the permission can only be extended if Mr O'Connor first gets an environmental assessment on the project because a small section of the south-eastern end of the site includes a prospective or "candidate" special area of conservation (cSAC) due to its high visual amenity.

Yesterday, Mr O'Connor, a World Cup and Ryder Cup golfer, was given leave by the High Court to challenge the council's decision. He claims the council failed to provide any or adequate reasons, or give reasons capable of justifying the decision made last October.

Eamon Galligan SC, for Mr O'Connor, told the court when An Bord Pleanala granted permission in 2008, there was no requirement for an environmental assessment.

The only condition the board laid down was that the number of houses should be reduced from four to three, counsel said.

In Mr O'Connor's statement of grounds seeking a judicial review of the refusal to extend, it is claimed the council has erred in law.

An Bord Pleanala had said in its reasons for granting permission that the houses would not injure the visual amenities of the area or have any adverse impact on the cSAC/proposed special protection area.

There was no basis on which the council could have concluded the planning regulations had not been complied with, it is claimed.

Mr Justice Michael Peart said it could come back before the court in January.

Irish Independent

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