Court told no houses built despite ‘fast-track’ plan

Developer Michael O’Flynn in action against Dun Laoghaire Rathdown over refusing planning permission

An action by a company of property developer Michael O’Flynn has opened in the High Court against Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council over its refusal last July of permission for 164 houses on part of a Cherrywood site at Beech Park, Bray Road.

An action by a company of property developer Michael O’Flynn has opened in the High Court against Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council over its refusal last July of permission for 164 houses on part of a Cherrywood site at Beech Park, Bray Road.

 

Two years after a fast-track plan for development of 7,000 homes in south Dublin was approved, not a single planning permission has issued despite a continuing “housing crisis”, the High Court was been told.

David Holland SC was opening an action by a company of property developer Michael O’Flynn against Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council over its refusal last July of permission for 164 houses on part of a Cherrywood site at Beech Park, Bray Road.

The €75 million plan by O’Flynn Capital Partners (OFCP) will create 100 full-time construction jobs and involves linking Druid’s Glen Road to the N11, Mr Holland said.

He told the court the Cherrywood area was designated a special development zone (SDZ) in 2010. Under an SDZ, the local authority prepares a plan which would oversee the proper development of the area.

Unlike ordinary local plans, SDZs enjoys certainty and speed as there is no appeal allowed to An Bord Pleanála, counsel said.

The Cherrywood plan envisaged the building of some 7,000 homes on land owned by a number of developers including OFCP. Despite the Cherrywood SDZ being prepared six years ago and approved in April 2014, “the rather pathetic situation” is that “not a single residential planning permission has been issued in the middle of a housing crisis”, Mr Holland said.

One central requirement of the plan is how the site is to be connected to the N11 but the Council failed to produce a design for this work despite a letter from the National Roads Authority in December 2014 describing as a “pessimistic forecast” a suggestion it would take a year to come up with with that design, counsel said.

It was “extraordinary”, more than a year since the council appointed consultants to come up with the design, “still we do not have it”. “One of the mysteries of this case is when are we going to get the design and why did we not get it,” he said. It was because of this the council was now arguing the OFCP plan was premature, counsel said.

While the word prematurity was never used in the actual refusal, this was what the Council was arguing before the court, he said. The case continues before Mr Justice Robert Haughton.