A dispute about who owns a valuable three-acre site beside the Citywest Hotel and conference centre complex in Dublin is holding up plans for a €50 million housing development, it has been claimed in the Commercial Court.
Two companies claim ownership of the land at Garter's Lane, Saggart, which is earmarked for a development of 224 housing units for which planning permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála last December.
The hotel and conference centre operators and owners, Cape Wrath Hotel Unlimited, say they own the land. They have obtained permission to build the residential development, which they say will provide significant affordable housing and deliver a large range of amenities for the local community.
But a company called Clapton (Ireland) Ltd also claims to own the land.
As result Cape Wrath has sued Clapton, seeking a declaration Cape Wrath is the owner, an injunction preventing trespass and damages, among other things.
The case was admitted to the High Court’s fast track Commercial Court on consent between the parties by Mr Justice David Barniville.
Cape Wrath director Michael McElligott says in April 1998 the then owner of the land sold it, in two separate conveyances, to two companies, HSS Ltd and Winterblue Ltd.
Mr McElligott says, in an affidavit, that Cape Wrath acquired the land in 2014 from a receiver of HSS, which was the former operator of Citywest before it went into receivership in 2010.
‘No map attached’
Clapton then asserted its title to the land derived from the 1998 transfer to Winterblue from the previous owner.
Mr McElligott said there was no map attached to the deed Clapton asserts title to, whereas there is a map with the deed for HSS. As part of the transfer of the land to Cape Wrath, and the corporate reorganisation of its parent, Alva Glen Holdings Ltd, a sum of €5.2 million was paid.
After Cape Wrath submitted its planning application for housing, Clapton claimed ownership and also made a submission in the planning process that it was legal owner, he said.
Following a proposal from Clapton, mediation to resolve the matter was unsuccessful.
Clapton failed repeatedly to provide Cape Wrath with a copy of the deed that asserted its title, Mr McElligott said. Cape Wrath obtained the deed itself, which it says shows Clapton could not have acquired title, he said.
Clapton continued to assert title, provided a valuation saying the land was worth about €9.6million and refused to confirm it would not continue to dispute Cape Wrath’s claim or that it would not attempt to interfere with its efforts to implement its housing permission, he said.
He said the position was clear from the deeds that Clapton never acquired the land in the first place.