Balbriggan Community Council confirm application for judicial review of controversial Templar Place development

Templar Place development

Tony McCullaghFingal Independent

Balbriggan Community Council has confirmed it has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission for a build-to-rent apartment development in the town centre.

The legal challenge was announced after the planning appeals board gave the green light for the Templar Place scheme at the former Mall Shopping Centre site, on Quay Street and High Street.

Rhonellen Developments Ltd had originally applied for permission to build 101 apartments under the fast-track SHD process, but this number was later reduced to 95 units by An Bord Pleanála.

Balbriggan Community Council launched a major fundraising appeal to legally challenge the board’s decision and has engaged the services of solicitors who specialise in judicial reviews.

They believe there are “substantial grounds” for taking a case, as the board’s decision went against the recommendation of Fingal County Council’s planning department.

Alice Davis, chairperson of Balbriggan Community Council, told the Fingal Independent their application for a judicial review had now been accepted and they would be back in court again on February 21. She claimed there was “99pc support” for their campaign in the local community.

“We have already raised around €12,000 through bucket collections and our iDonate page,” she said. “Our first payment of €20,000 is due shortly so we are hopeful of reaching that initial target.”

Ms Davis said members of Balbriggan Community Council were “more determined than ever” to have An Bord Pleanála’s decision overturned.

“We feel we need to put down a marker,” she said. “We all want to see the rejuvenation of Balbriggan move forward, but this type of housing development is not appropriate for this part of the town.”

The managing director of Rhonellen Developments recently expressed “surprise and disappointment” that a “costly” legal action to oppose the €28 million plan was being considered.

AJ Noonan said his company had been “painstaking in its planning for the development of Templar Place, designing a residential and retail scheme which would greatly benefit the town and provide much needed accommodation”.

He added they had consulted extensively with Fingal County Council and An Bord Pleanála “to create the best possible outcome” for the derelict site, which he described as “an eyesore”.