Tuesday 21 May 2019

An Bord Pleanála admits 'error' in approving controversial development of 500 homes for north Dublin park

File photo of people supporting the action against the development pictured taking part in a protest at St Anne's Park earlier this year. Photo: Gerry Mooney
File photo of people supporting the action against the development pictured taking part in a protest at St Anne's Park earlier this year. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Tim Healy

An Bord Pleanála has said it made an error in its decision to grant planning permission for a development of 500 housing units in north Dublin.

Mr Justice David Barniville was told by Fintan Valentine Bl for the Board that the planning authority was now prepared to concede to an order quashing the planning permission.

Earlier this year the board gave Crekav Trading, part of developer Marlet, the go-ahead to build 104 houses and 432 apartments on lands used by St Paul’s College, in Raheny as six playing pitches. The land is beside St Anne's Park in north Dublin.

That decision has been challenged by parties including Clonres CLG, which represents residents from the Clontarf area, environmental campaigner Peter Sweetman and Mr John Conway and the Louth Environmental Group want the decision quashed on grounds including that the decision is fundamentally flawed.

They seek various orders including one quashing An Bord Pleanala's decision to grant planning permission.

They also seek various declarations including that the board failed to undertake or an Appropriate Assessment on the conservation of natural habitats of wild flora and fauna, and failed to comply with the EU Birds Directive

As well as the board proceedings have also been brought against, Ireland and the Attorney General and the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in respect of the decision.

The developers are notice parties.

The case was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Barniville on Thursday, who was informed by Mr Valentine that the board accepted it had made an error regarding the manner it had recorded an Appropriate Assessment conducted on the site as is required under the EU Habitats direction. 

As a result, counsel said the Board is prepared to consent to orders quashing the planning decision.

The Judge adjourned to matter to a date next month to allow the parties, and notice parties which include the developer, consider what the board has said.

The case has been brought on grounds including that an Appropriate Assessment on the possible adverse effects the development will have on the site was not properly carried out.

The site, it is claimed is a significant foraging ground for the internationally important population of East Canadian High Arctic Light-bellied Brent Geese, and other protected species curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull and Oystercatcher

The lands the subject of the proceedings was formally owned by the Vincentian Fathers, who are the trustees of the all-boys secondary school St Paul’s College. Local sports club have also used the pitches.

The planning application was made directly by the developer to An Bord Pleanála under a fast-track process for large housing projects, bypassing the local authority.

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