High Court to add notice parties to developer’s land redesignation challenge

Colbeam is challenging Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council decision to rezone land in Goatstown from residential to open space

The High Court has agreed to add two notice parties to a developer’s challenge against a Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s decision to redesignate lands from being residential to open space.

The 2.12 hectares of lands are located at what had been part of Our Lady’s Grove primary and secondary school in Goatstown, about 850 metres from UCD.

The site was formerly owned by the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, which sold it in 2017. Colbeam Ltd, which owns and wants to develop the site, has brought judicial review proceedings challenging the council’s decision to designate the lands as open space in its 2022-2028 County Development Plan.

Colbeam claims that in the council’s previous 2016-2022 County Development Plan, the lands in question had been zoned for residential development.


As a result of the change, Colbeam has brought High Court judicial review proceedings where it seeks orders quashing the zoning of Colbeam’s lands as open space.

It claims that residential use of the lands is consistent with proper planning and sustainable development.

Colbeam further argues that the council’s elected members erred when they decided to rezone the lands because they did not engage properly with the proper planning history of the site.

In a preliminary ruling in the case Mr Justice David Holland said that he was adding Wendy Jennings and Adrian O’Connor, of The Grove, Goatstown, whose back garden backs on to part of the site as notice parties to the proceedings.

Earlier this year the couple, in unrelated proceedings, had successfully challenged An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant Colbeam permission to build a €160 million student accommodation on the lands.

Colbeam had opposed their application to be joined as notice parties on the grounds that they would support the council in the action.

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However, the judge held that they have sufficient interest in the matter to allow the court to join them as notice parties to Colbeam’s proceedings.

Last February, when ruling on Ms Jennings and Mr O’Connor’s action, Mr Justice Holland agreed to quash the planning board’s decision to grant permission for the proposed 698-bed eight-block development which will be up to five storeys high.

The applicants, who said they were not against development on the lands, claimed the proposal amounted to a significant overdevelopment of the site. They argued that the board erred in granting permission and that the plan contravened requirements for open spaces, building heights and tree protection/landscaping.

They also claimed it breached European Union law on protection of habitats.

The board and Colbeam opposed that application.

Mr Justice Holland said he was quashing the decision on grounds including the plan failed to comply with requirements relating to the consideration of the open character of the site and the density of the development.

It was also quashed in relation to failure to comply with guidelines relating to height of the blocks, interference with daylight and in relation to tree planting/landscaping.

The court is yet to rule on whether to remit Colbeam’s application back to An Bord Pleanála for a fresh consideration.