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St Anne's Park Sam Boal/

Appeal lodged over Council's refusal of planning permission for apartments near St Anne's Park

The refusal followed Dublin City Council receiving more than 230 objections against the proposal.

PATRICK CREAN’S MARLET Group has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against Dublin City Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for 580 apartments planned for a site near St Anne’s Park in Raheny in north Dublin.

Last month, City Council concerns over the Light Bellied Brent Goose put paid to the contentious residential plan for the 16.5 acre site on lands to the east of St Paul’s College at Sybil Hill, Raheny, Dublin 5. 

The move by the Marlet Group to appeal is the latest twist in the long-running planning saga for the site since it was purchased by Crean in 2015.

In the High Court in May of last year, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys noted that the proposed development at the site has so far clocked up four decisions by An Bord Pleanála and ten sets of legal proceedings “and counting”.

Last month, members of Dublin City Council voted to effectively ‘dezone’  the lands which would effectively sterilise the land from future use for housing and that move is expected to be challenged by the Marlet Group in the High Court. 

With appeal documents lodged, the Marlet Group is now contesting the Council’s refusal over the Brent Goose, which usually migrates here from ‘high Arctic’ Canada for the Winter months. 

The planning authority last month told Marlet Group that the submitted Natura Impact Statement lodged with the planning application “has not demonstrated that the evidence provided supports the assertion that no impact arises to the Dublin Bay populations of protected Brent geese” from the proposed development. 

The refusal followed a Government department, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage telling the council that Dublin Bay is the most important site for the Light Bellied Brent Goose in Ireland.

The council’s planner’s report concluded that the design and layout of the scheme demonstrates that the proposed development will provide a high quality residential scheme with a height, mass and scale which will sit comfortably within its surroundings.

However, the report stated that there are “significant outstanding biodiversity issues” and stated that the the scale of studies required across the existing Brent Geese feeding grounds and potentially across a number of winter seasons would be beyond the remit of a request for further information and therefore permission be refused. 

The refusal followed Dublin City Council receiving more than 230 objections against the proposal.

The refusal also followed the High Court last year overturning a planning permission for 657 dwellings on the site.

The ‘Large Scale Residential Development’ (LRD)’ scheme by Marlet subsidiary, Raheny 3 Ltd Partnership comprises seven apartment blocks from four to seven storeys in height.

The new 580 unit apartment scheme is made up of 272 one bed units, 15 two bed three-person units, 233 two bed four person units and 60 three bed units.

Planning documents lodged with the application stated that the proposal is consistent with the Government’s new Housing for All plan and will provide 580 new, high quality homes on former institutional lands “which are ideally placed to accommodate residential development lands zoned for residential development in line with the specific zoning requirement”.

Some of those to lodge objections included Dublin TDs, Sean Haughey (Fianna Fáil) and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Labour).

In his objection, Haughey told the city council that he is “strongly opposed” to the scheme.

Haughey stated “losing these playing fields to a large scale residential development will result in a serious loss of recreational amenity space”.

He also highlights biodiversity concerns in relation to the scheme stating that “of particular concern is the impact this proposed development will have on the Light Bellied Brent Goose”.

He says: “They are protected birds and the development will certainly impact on them. The long term loss of this feeding ground is a major consideration and not enough is known at this stage as to the consequence of such a loss”.

In his objection, Ó Ríordáin told the Council that “this is the latest in a series of planning applications made in respect of these lands going back to 2015”.

He said: “The fact that no application has been successful to this point should inform the Council when making its decision.”

Ó Ríordáin and other Labour Court members stated: “Respect the court’s ruling. That is all we ask.”