Developer Michael O’Flynn’s council row for High Court
Judicial review will run rule over planning refusal for €75m scheme
Developer Michael O’Flynn: “There isn’t a single house constructed on the land.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Developer Michael O’Flynn claims the absence of a single house on the largest fast-track planning area in Dublin more than two years after it was approved for planning by An Bord Pleanála is the fault of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
Mr O’Flynn, who is legally challenging the council’s decision to refuse his company planning for a €75 million housing scheme on the Cherrywood site in south Co Dublin, said the council had made it “impossible to progress planning”.
“It is an appalling situation that six years after designation and two years after the planning scheme has been approved by An Bord Pleanála there isn’t a single house constructed on the land,” he told The Irish Times.
The council was not available for comment. Both sides went into mediation in an effort to resolve the dispute, but the process failed.
Fast-track processHigh Court
The zones provide for a fast-track planning process by allowing the relevant council to grant permission that cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
The development involves the construction of 164 residential units and the demolition of 11 existing units on the 5.3 hectare site. It also involves the construction of a roadway, known as the Druid Glen Road, to access the N11 dual carriageway, the main artery connecting the capital with the southeast.
The main pillar of contention centres on a small tract of land, owned by O’Flynn’s firm, that is outside the designated zone but which provides access to the N11.
It is one of three access points to the Cherrywood site and is considered crucial to the entire development of the zone, which has capacity for almost 7,500 housing units.
Mr O’Flynn, who successfully fended off an attempt by private equity group Blackstone to seize control of his assets last year, contends the council has no power to demand that any planning applicant give owners of adjoining land access to the property.
‘No other option’
“We’re happy for that piece of land to be the subject of a compulsory purchase order but for some amazing reason the council is trying to treat it as part of our planning application.
“The new government need to wake up to the housing crisis and take swift action to address the very clear shortcomings and bottlenecks which exist . . . this is only one example . . . that said it’s important to note we fully respect the planning process in this country must be adhered to fully at all times.”
Mr O’Flynn lawyers are likely to contend that the way his firm was refused planning denied it due process.
“They refused us planning and because part of this site is within the SDZ zone we had no right of appeal,” he said.
Encompassing 360 hectares, Cherrywood is the single largest undeveloped landbank in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. In recognition of its strategic importance, the council successfully applied to the then government for SDZ status, which was granted in 2010.