Owner of site beside St Anne’s Park again granted planning permission

Raheny land has been at the centre of multiple judicial review proceedings

An artist’s impression of what the apartment development beside St Anne’s Park could look like.

An artist’s impression of what the apartment development beside St Anne’s Park could look like.

 

The owner of a site beside St Anne’s Park in Raheny in Dublin has again been granted permission by An Bord Pleanála to build homes on the land, which has been at the centre of multiple judicial review proceedings in the High Court.

The planning board has approved the proposed development by Crekav, a subsidiary of developer Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group, of 657 apartments in blocks up to nine storeys high on former playing fields east of St Paul’s College beside the park.

The board had granted permission for the apartment scheme last February, but in June it consented to High Court orders quashing its decision after separate judicial review cases were taken by the Louth Environment Group and local residents’ group Clonres.

Habitats

The High Court orders were made on the basis the planning body had not adequately addressed requirements of the EU Habitats Directive when assessing the impact of the development on feeding grounds of protected bird species in Dublin Bay.

The board has now reassessed the decision and has again decided to grant permission for the 657 apartments.

In its latest ruling, the board said the proposed development “would not adversely affect any of the habitats within the relevant European sites”.

Subject to conditions, the development “would constitute an acceptable residential density in this location” and “would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity”, it said.

It said the apartment scheme would not detract from the existing character and setting of St Anne’s Park or the nearby protected structure Sybil Hill House, and would be “acceptable in terms of urban design, height and quantum of development”.

The fresh decision is also open to judicial review proceedings for the next two months.

However, the board is still due to issue a decision on another application for the same site, an application it originally approved more than two years ago.

In April 2018, An Bord Pleanála granted permission for 104 houses and 432 apartments on the site, which was bought by Crekav in 2015.

This permission was successfully challenged by the Louth Environment Group and Clonres, in what was the first judicial review of a decision made under the State’s fast-track planning system for strategic housing developments.

Reconsideration

In this review, the High Court determined the application should be returned to the board to allow it to reconsider matters and make a fresh order on the planning application.

The board’s subsequent decision to refuse permission for the development reflected legal points raised in the court challenge regarding European environmental directives, specifically relating to the potential impact on bird species, notably Brent geese.

However, Crekav challenged this refusal and earlier this month, the High Court ruled in the company’s favour.

Judge David Barniville held that the board’s reasons for deciding to refuse permission for the 536 houses and apartments, and its reasons for disagreeing with its own inspector’s recommendation that permission be granted, were inadequate.

It is expected that next month, the court will order the board to consider this decision afresh.

However, it is likely that Crekav will go ahead with the apartment-only scheme, unless this is also challenged before the eight-week time limit elapses.