A community group has brought a legal challenge aimed at overturning permission for a development of 496 apartments in Ballyboden in south county Dublin.
The action by Ballyboden Tidy Towns Group (BTTG) concerns An Bord Pleanála's permission for the development on a site at Taylor's Lane and Edmondstown Road, Taylor's Lane, Ballyboden.
The permission was granted on September 14th last to Shannon Homes Construction ULC.
The group’s concerns include the height and density of the development, its traffic impact and its potential impact on the Tolka estuary and Natura 2000 sites in Dublin Bay.
Mr Justice Richard Humphreys granted leave on Thursday for the judicial review proceedings and admitted the case to the court's Strategic Infrastructure Development list, dealing with cases concerning strategic housing planning applications made directly to the board.
Having been told the group, represented by Neil Steen SC, with John Kenny BL, instructed by solicitor Fred Logue, is concerned about preparatory works involving felling of trees, the judge granted a stay on works pending the conclusion of the proceedings. The case will return in two weeks for the making of directions.
The proceedings are against the board; the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Ireland and the Attorney General with Shannon Homes and South Dublin County Council as notice parties.
The grounds of challenge were set out in a grounding statement and an affidavit on behalf of the group by its chairperson, Angela O’Donoghue, of Glendoher Close, Rathfarnham.
The claims include the statutory pre-consultation process provided for under the 2016 Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act is incompatible with Article 6 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and/or the applicant’s rights to fair procedures and natural and constitutional justice.
It is claimed, after a “closed” process between the applicant developer, the board and the local planning authority, the board determines whether the development should be fast-tracked under the 2016 Act procedure. While the board has discretion to consult with any person concerning a proposed strategic housing development, that cannot substitute for the right of public participation guaranteed by the EIA directive, the group claims.
It is also claimed the board erred in law in its assessment of the potential impact from the proposed development on Natura 2000 sites in Dublin Bay for the purposes of the Habitats Directive. The group claims the development is likely to add significant loading on to the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant, already operating significantly over capacity and regularly discharging raw sewage into Dublin Bay. Even after upgrade works are complete, the plant will be over-capacity and a board inspector failed to properly address this issue in a screening report, it is claimed.
The board, it is further alleged, failed to have any, or any adequate, regard for the protection of bat fauna and otters for the purposes of the relevant provisions of the Habitats Directive.
Other claims include the board erred in concluding the density of the proposed development did not constitute a material contravention of the South Dublin County Development Plan 2016-22; in its interpretation of the Urban Development and Building Height Guidelines and in regard to its assessment of the traffic impact from the development on the greater Rathfarnham area.