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Residents in bid to block housing plan set for ex-RTÉ site

Builder wants to put up 614 homes

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Mr Justice Denis McDonald

Mr Justice Denis McDonald

Mr Justice Denis McDonald

A group of three Ailesbury Road residents have brought a legal challenge over An Bord Pleanála's handling of a planning application for 614 residential units on former RTÉ lands close to their Dublin 4 homes.

The planning board has agreed to consider the planning application from Cairn Homes for permission under the Strategic Housing Act but has not yet decided it.

The residents' High Court case includes claims that certain provisions of the act breach their rights under the Constitution and under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald has granted leave to the residents to challenge the board's decision to deal under the Strategic Housing Act with the permission application by Cairn Homes Properties Ltd.

He returned the judicial review case, and related proceedings by the applicants, to late next month for further directions.

The Strategic Housing Act allows developers seeking permission for developments exceeding 100 units to apply directly to the board for permission, bypassing the local housing authority.

The three residents who are bringing the challenge, Chris Comerford, Pat Desmond and John Gleeson, say that "extremely close" to their homes is a property that previously formed part of the RTÉ campus, in respect of which Cairn Homes wants to develop 614 residential units.

That comprises 611 apartments in nine blocks up to 10 storeys high, three townhouses, two cafes, one childcare facility and change of use of an existing Regency villa to a private members' club and gym.

The applicants claim the proposed development is of a scale and density far in excess of what is permitted under the Dublin City Development Plan, would overlook and overshadow their homes and be "totally out of keeping" with an area consisting of low rise Victorian or Edwardian-type houses.

They claim the development would affect the applicants' properties, which include protected structures.

They also claim it would affect other properties nearby including Montrose House, Mount Errol House and the important 1960s Scott Tallon Walker Building that houses the existing RTÉ studios.

Barrister Michael O'Donnell, for the applicants, said the board has significant obligations when considering whether a planning application falls to be considered under the Strategic Housing Act.

This was not a "rubber-stamping" exercise but in deciding to deal with the application by Cairn Homes under the Act the board failed to consider relevant matters and considered irrelevant ones, he told the High Court.

An applicant developer under the Strategic Housing Act must also be the owner of the relevant lands or have written consent of the owner, he said. In this case, the applicant was sworn not to be the owner and did not have written consent of the "critical entity", the court heard.

In other claims the residents argue various provisions of the Strategic Housing Act and of the Planning and Development Act 2000 are inconsistent with their rights under the Constitution and under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Their case is against An Bord Pleanála, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Ireland and the Attorney General with Dublin City Council and Cairn Homes as notice parties.

Irish Independent