Thursday, May 25, 2023

High Court reporters

A community group is asking the High Court to quash planning permission for the construction of 432 homes in Donabate, north Dublin.

The Donabate Portrane Community Council says in proceedings that it has a track record working to protect the environment of the local peninsula and the quality of life of residents in the area.

The case, against An Bord Pleanála, Fingal County Council, Ireland and the Attorney General, concerns permission for 213 houses, 93 apartments and 126 duplexes at Ballymastone in Donabate.

Fingal County Council had approved the large-scale residential scheme proposed by developer Glenveagh Living Limited, a notice party in the court action, and the board upheld this on appeal from the Donabate Portrane Community Council.

This week Mr Justice Richard Humphreys gave permission for the community council to pursue judicial review of the board’s approval.

The application for leave was moved by Stephen Dodd SC, instructed by FP Logue solicitor Eoin Brady, while only the plaintiff group was represented in court and notified of the application.

The case was adjourned to a date next month.

The community council’s chair, David Fletcher, said the group is not opposed to development of the site if it can be achieved in an “environmentally responsible” manner.

The group is concerned this scheme represents “significant over-development” of the site with “serious environmental and planning implications” for the surrounding areas.

Among the group’s grounds of challenge is one alleging the appeals board erred in misinterpreting the population growth and housing allocation provisions for Donabate as set out in the Fingal County Development Plan.

It claims Donabate, which has some 7,400 residents, is classified as a “self-sustaining growth town” where a 10 per cent population increase is appropriate. Such a target is based on mandatory national and regional policies, the group says.

The 432 units at Ballymastone might each hold an average of 2.5 people, so, when considering this together with 1,365 residential units approved for Corballis, An Bord Pleanála has approved “vastly in excess” of Donabate’s population requirements, the group claims.

It also says the board failed to find the proposed density of the scheme materially contravenes a policy objective of the Fingal County Development Plan.

The community council wants the court to overturn the board’s March 28th permission and to make various declarations, including that the Donabate Local Area Plan of 2016 is invalid and has no effect.

Citing EU law grounds, the applicant alleges the Donabate plan was extended without certain environmental assessments being carried out.

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