Proposed Balgriffin housing development to be fast-tracked in Commercial Court

Legal challenge opposes building of 96 homes

A legal challenge to a proposed development of 96 homes in Dublin is to be fast-tracked at the Commercial Court.

The planned development on lands at Parkside, Balgriffin Park, Dublin 17, is part of a larger joint development by Cairn Homes and the National Assets Management Agency on Balgriffin Park lands. The lands at issue are almost entirely owned by Cairn Homes and by Balgriffin Investment No 2 Designated Activity Company, a special purpose vehicle owned by Cairn Homes plc and Nama.

Brendan Dalton, Corran Lorcain, Baile Átha Cliath, had last month secured leave from the High Court for judicial review of a March 2019 decision by An Bord Pleanála that an appeal lodged by him against Dublin City Council's permission for the development was invalid.

In his grounding statement for judicial review, he described himself as the advocate for the residents of St Michael's Cottages, Hole in the Wall Road, Donaghmede. Mr Dalton argues the board erred in law in determining he was not the appellant in respect of the appeal lodged by him against the council permission.

In deeming his appeal invalid, the board said the name and address of the “appellants” had not been stated. It said that meant the requirements of Section 127.2.b of the Planning and Development Act had not been met and thus the appeal was invalid.

Mr Dalton disputes that finding and said he had confirmed in a submission to the board he himself was the appellant. He said the individual residents of St Michael's Cottages were never intended to be the appellants as they had lodged individual submissions to Dublin City Council.

The residents relied on the appeal he had made to the board in his own right to also reflect their position, he also said.

At the Commercial Court on Monday, Mr Justice Robert Haughton granted an application by Cairn Homes Properties Ltd to fast-track Mr Dalton’s judicial review.

In an affidavit, Tara Grimley, company secretary of Cairn Homes, said Mr Dalton's case against the board will delay the implementation of the planning permission and should be heard as soon as possible. Cairn Homes has spent some €9.4 million on site acquisition and planning fees and the expected construction costs of the development are some €18.5 million, she said.

The only appeal lodged against the council’s permission for the development was Mr Dalton’s and, after An Bord Pleanála deemed that appeal invalid, development commenced on the site, she said.

Cairn’s aim was to have 50 units completed by the end of this year and the balance completed by late 2020, she said. The 75 week construction phase would provide 150 full time and 75 part time construction jobs.

The judicial review is affecting the deliverability of 96 residential units which is consistent with the stated government objective of providing much needed homes, she added.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times