Financing of 1,150 new homes in west Dublin may be delayed by court challenge

Developer seeks permission for fast track hearing of court challenge to rezoning of land

The Local Area Plan, drawn up by the council, involves converting the 45 hectares of farmland to housing. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Local Area Plan, drawn up by the council, involves converting the 45 hectares of farmland to housing. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

The financing of 1,150 new homes in west Dublin would be seriously affected by a delay arising from a legal challenge to a local plan for the site, it has been claimed before the Commercial Court.

Dragonglen Ltd and Alcove Ireland Four Ltd are to seek permission for the development on some 32 hectares (80 acres) at Barnhill, Clonsilla, from An Bord Pleanála under fast-track strategic housing development provisions.

Last April, a local resident Fiacre Ó’Cairbre, Barberstown, Clonsilla, was granted leave by the High Court to challenge the Barnhill Local Area Plan (LAP) drawn up by Fingal County Council for some 45 hectares (112 acres) in Barnhill.

Mr Ó’Cairbre claims, among other things, the Fingal county development plan zoned Barnhill for residential development, subject to an LAP, but gave no reasons why they had been so zoned.

The LAP, drawn up by the council, involves converting the 45 hectares of farmland to housing.

The applicant says it will involve the loss of hedgerows of high ecological value with no explanation of the impact on fauna and flora and particularly on wildlife such as bats, otter and frogs, he says.

Assessment

He also claims the council wrongly decided, and in contravention of the EU Habitats directive, the LAP was not likely to have a significant effect on a European site and an appropriate assessment was not required.

The LAP also failed to consider the criteria for determining that a strategic environmental assessment was required, he said.

On Monday, Eamonn Galligan SC, for Dragonglen, a notice party to the case, was granted permission by Mr Justice Robert Haughton to have Mr Ó’Cairbre’s case against the council fast-tracked in the Commercial Court.

Dragonglen director, William McGreal, said in an affidavit, if the court finds the council’s LAP is invalid, it would mean any permission granted to his firm by ABP would be liable to be quashed if further proceedings were brought.

Mr Ó’Cairbre’s case has created uncertainty around the ability of his firm to carry out this project within a reasonable timeframe, he said.

The finances of Dragonglen will be seriously affected by any delay leading to additional interest being charged on its financing, he said.