Tuesday 24 September 2019

536-home project near public park to be blocked after planners' mistake

A poster opposing the development hangs on railings at the site. Photo: Doug O’Connor
A poster opposing the development hangs on railings at the site. Photo: Doug O’Connor
Paul and Jack Maher (7) from All Saints Park during a protest walk over the proposed housing development next to St Anne’s Park in Raheny. Picture: Collins

Luke Byrne and Tim Healy

A controversial decision to allow a development of 536 housing units near St Anne's Park, Dublin, was made in error, An Bord Pleanála has admitted.

Counsel for An Bord Pleanála yesterday told a court it would agree to an order quashing the planning permission.

Campaigners fighting the development of 104 houses and 432 apartments say they feel vindicated by the planning authority's admission.

But serious questions are now being raised about how the board came to grant permission for the development, the first Dublin project under new Strategic Housing Development rules that bypassed the council stage of planning and went straight to the board.

The homes were to be built by Crekav Trading, part of developer Marlet, on lands in Raheny used by St Paul's College for playing pitches.

"If the campaigners had not taken judicial review proceedings, development would have started and the amenity would be lost forever," Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said yesterday.

"It has been a really uplifting day. It's a day of massive relief. The community and the campaigners have been completely vindicated."

Mr Ó Ríordáin said An Bord Pleanála's explanation was "not good enough" given the scale of what was proposed.

The board told the High Court yesterday it made an error in its decision granting planning permission.

Mr Justice David Barniville was told by Fintan Valentine, counsel for the board, it would, as a result, agree to an order quashing the permission. The nature of the mistake made by the board was not revealed but will be fully clarified to the court at a sitting on July 16.

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan had recommended the board refuse planning permission before it was granted in April. A report into the site said it was a significant foraging ground for the internationally important population of East Canadian High Arctic Light-bellied Brent Geese, and other protected species including curlew, black-tailed godwit, black-headed Gull and oystercatcher.

The new Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, welcomed the news. "The biodiversity of the entire coastal area must be protected and this decision will encourage all Dubliners that our unique coastline can and will be protected," he said. An Bord Pleanála did not respond to a request for comment last night. The developer could not be contacted.

Irish Independent

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