A legal dispute over ownership of a 47sq m portion of land is holding up a 35-unit apartment development in Foxrock, Co Dublin, it has been claimed.
The case, which involves a property owned by developer Johnny Ronan, was admitted to the Commercial Court on Monday on consent of the sides.
An investment vehicle company, Targeted Investment Opportunities (TIO), claims it owns the piece of land at the rear of a property called Rockall, The Birches, Torquay Road, which is owned by TIO. It says the portion forms part of the garden at the rear of Rockall, providing shade and privacy as well as demarcating the property boundary from the public road.
TIO, which is owned by Oaktree Capital, says it bought Rockall and this piece of land in February 2015 for €3.39 million.
TIO got planning permission from An Bórd Pleanála last February to demolish Rockall and build two blocks of apartments on the entire property which is near Foxrock Golf Club.
It claims another company, Mr Ronan's Academy Geographic Ltd, which owns a neighbouring property known as Weston, had in April last year trespassed on to the 47sq m portion.
It claims Academy had caused part of a long-standing boundary wall to be demolished and put up new fencing such that the land was now within the boundaries of Weston.
Solicitors for Academy had written to TIO stating Academy was the rightful owner of the portion of land, and claimed the planning permission was invalidated because TIO had included the portion in its planning application without Academy’s consent.
TIO had requested Academy to refrain from trespassing, called on it to reinstate the original boundaries and to refrain from claiming the planning permission was invalid. It failed or refused to do so, and TIO brought proceedings.
Roger Browne, construction director for TIO's asset manager Bridgedale Asset Management, said in an affidavit that the 47sq m portion was, under the planning permission, to be used as a means of pedestrian access to the apartment development from the public road and for connecting to essential services such as water and electricity.
Alternatives to such connections were looked at but it appears the alternative would be unlikely without a new planning permission. Given the likely opposition of the defendant company and of others, any further application would be “likely to cause significant delays to the development and give rise to substantial additional costs”.