Saturday 17 March 2018

Mother looking to plant hedge at home can challenge An Bord Pleanala decision to block plans

The Four Courts, Dublin
The Four Courts, Dublin

Ray Managh

A mother of two, who wants to plant a hedge around her Moville, Co Donegal, home on the shores of Lough Foyle, has been granted leave of the High Court to challenge a decision of An Bord Pleanala which blocked her plans.

Barrirster Michael O’Donnell told the High Court that Wendy Tweed, had bought the former 'Hair O the Dog' pub in Quay Street, Moville, and was currently refurbishing it as a home for herself, her husband and their two children aged five and seven.

Mr O’Donnell said that having been given the go-ahead of Donegal County Council to turn the old hotel and pub premises into a three-bed two-storey dwelling, she sought additional planning permission for a four feet high post-and-wire boundary fence and hedge.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan heard that the former pub car park and boundary touched on the lough shore and there had been objections from Foyle and Moville Rowing Club.

The club contended that the fence would block the car park area, restrict vehicle turning space and seal off a “public viewing area,” all of which were on the private grounds of Ms Tweed’s new home.  It claimed the fence would reduce a pedestrian footpath and create traffic and walking hazards on a steep cliff-like shore.

Mr O’Donnell, who appeared with Tom Wylie of Babington Solicitors, Derry, said Ms Tweed wished to provide a safe and secure environment for her children where they could play with a degree of privacy.  She would be fearful of allowing them to play in a car parking and turning area.

He said she was the registered owner of the lands and Donegal County Council accepted that the property was not subject to any public rights.  The rowing club had raised concerns in respect of the obstruction of access to the foreshore.  He said the club was not a legal entity entitled to make any appeal against planning permission for the boundary fence.

Ms Tweed told the court, in an affidavit, that the Bord’s inspector, Ms Dolores McCague who had been appointed to hear the appeal, in her assessment had concluded the lands within the boundary had been used by the public for parking cars, for viewing events on the Foyle and for general amenity use.

Ms McCague had in effect held the property surrounds were public lands which could be used by the public as of right.  Ms Tweed said the inspector made findings in respect of a range of public rights on the basis of vague and unsubstantiated assertions from persons who had no right or basis to do so, depriving her of all control over her property.

Judge Meenan granted Ms Tweed leave to judicially review the finding of An Bord Pleanala and seek to quash its decision restraining erection of the hedge and fence.

Ms Tweed was also granted leave to seek declarations that the property in question was not public land lands governed by public rights of parking, turning cars, viewing or access. The proceedings were made returnable to October 9.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News