Approval for 13-storey build to rent block in Dún Laoghaire appealed

Judicial review over plan for 100 apartments and two retail units on St Michael’s Hospital site

A computer-generated impression of the scheme planned for the St Michael’s Hospital site in Dún Laoghaire.

An action to quash planning permission for 100 build-to-rent apartments and two retail units in two blocks on the St Michael's Hospital site in Dún Laoghaire has been admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court list.

Crofton Buildings Management CLG, manager of the Harbour View apartment development adjacent to the development site on St Michael's Hospital lands at Crofton Road, and Stephanie Bourke, of Carrickbrennan Road, Monkstown, who owns an apartment in Harbour View have challenged An Bord Pleanála's decision to give the €35 million development the go-ahead.

Grounds for their action include claims that the board erred in permitting a development including a 13-storey block in material contravention of height and other objectives of the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Development Plan.

Their case, which was brought by way of judicial review in July, is against the board. The developer, Fitzwilliam DL Limited, of which Noel Smyth is a director, is a notice party.

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At the High Court on Tuesday, Fitzwilliam was successful in its application to have the matter admitted to the fast-track commercial court list.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald said the action was suitable and made directions, including assigning the case to a judge who will hear actions concerning projects deemed to be strategic infrastructure developments.

The application for admission was not opposed. The matter will return before the court in January 2022.

In its application to the court Fitzwilliam DL claims there is a commercial urgency to the action. The delay caused to the development by the action, it claims, will result the company sustaining increased costs, including construction costs, and a potential loss of competitiveness in the market.

Contravenes development plan

The case concerns the board’s approval last April for a strategic housing development, involving demolition of a two-storey vacant dwelling and construction of 100 build-to-rent apartments and two retail units, with associated private residential amenity space, and a cafe unit.

It is claimed by the plaintiffs that the proposed development materially contravened the development plan in relation to the town centre and retail-use zoning of the area, said counsel. While the board tried to “get around” that by reason of the development including two retail units, it acted outside its powers in doing so.

The board also erred in permitting development in material contravention of objectives of the development plan concerning building height and the protected skyline of Dún Laoghaire, it is also claimed.

The proposed apartment block, at 51.475m high, would be higher than the tower of the County Hall, clearly breaching the development plan, while the second block would be 37m high, it is claimed.

The board also erred in considering the “unique” Dún Laoghaire skyline not protected.