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High Court challenge brought against proposed development of 650 apartments in Raheny

An environmental group claims the decision to grant permission is flawed on several grounds.

The proposed development consists of 657 apartments, in nine blocks ranging in height between five and nine storeys and a creche.
The proposed development consists of 657 apartments, in nine blocks ranging in height between five and nine storeys and a creche.
Image: Shutterstock/RachenStocker

AN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP has secured permission from the High Court to challenge An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission for a development consisting of over 650 apartments in Raheny in Dublin.

The challenge has been brought by John Conway and the Louth Environmental Group NGO against An Bord Pleanála’s decision of 13 February last to allow Crekav Trading GP Ltd develop a strategic housing development on lands east of St Paul’s College, Sybil Hill Road in Raheny.

The proposed development consists of 657 apartments, in nine blocks ranging in height between five and nine storeys and a creche.

The lands in question were the subject of a previous planning application by Crekav, which is part of the Marlet Group.

The applicants claim the decision to grant permission is flawed on several grounds.

In their action against the board Conway and the NGO, represented by Stephen Dodd SC, claim that the board erred in law by failing to a conduct an appropriate assessment of the proposed development in accordance with the requirements of EU Directive on habitats and birds.

They claim that inadequate evaluations were carried out by the board on the developments’ potential impact on various species of birds including curlews, oystercatchers and the light bellied Brent goose. 

The board’s decision, they claim, is also flawed on the grounds the development contravenes the Dublin City development plan in relation to building heights, which it claims parts of the proposed development exceed, and zoning.

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.

In April 2018, the board granted Crekav permission for 104 houses and 432 apartments on the St Paul’s College site. That decision was also the subject of a High Court challenge.

Those proceedings, brought by various parties including local residents and Conway and Louth Environmental Group, were resolved after the board accepted it made an error in its decision to grant permission.  

Crekav made a fresh application to the board in respect of lands. It sought to build more apartments on the site and no houses.

At the High Court yesterday Justice Denis McDonald, who is the judge assigned to consider applications to fast track challenges concerning strategic infrastructure developments, said he was satisfied to grant Conway and the NGO permission to bring their action.

In the proceedings against the board, the applicants seek an order quashing the board’s decision to grant permission.

The applicants also seek various declarations including that the decision challenged was unlawful, that it does not constitute a strategic housing development, and was made in material contravention of the 2016-2022 Dublin City Development Plan regarding the height of buildings.

They further seek declarations that the board in granting permission acted contrary to EU Directives, including the Habitats Directive and the Directive concerning European Impact Assessments.

Crekav is a notice party to the proceedings.

The application was granted by the judge on an ex-parte basis, where only one side was present in court. After making certain directions in the action the judge adjourned the matter to a date in late April. 

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Aodhan O Faolain

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