Resident groups challenge permission for Phibsborough apartments

Locals claim proposal represents ‘signficant over -development’

Two residents groups have taken a High Court challenge aimed at overturning permission for a development of 205 build-to-rent apartments in blocks ranging from three to 12 storeys on a site in Phibsborough, Dublin.

The groups, representing residents of Leinster Street North and Shandon Park, say they are not opposed to development of the Old Bakery site on Phibsborough Road near Cross Guns bridge but claim the proposal represents “significant over-development” of the site.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys granted leave on Monday to John Kenny, instructed by Eoin Brady, of FP Logue Solicitors, for the applicants, to bring the judicial review challenge.


He granted a stay on any works, with liberty to apply to the respondents to vary or discharge that. In seeking the stay, Mr Kenny said there were significant issues concerning the Habitats Directive and his clients are concerned, if there was no stay, that former industrial buildings on the site may be demolished.


In their action against An Bord Pleanála, with the developer Bindford Ltd a notice party, Leinster Street North Residents Association and Shandon Residents Association say their members are directly and significantly impacted by the proposed development.

They have advanced 11 grounds of challenge, including that the board’s strategic housing development permission for the development was granted in breach of sunlight/daylight requirements in guidelines concerning urban buildings and new apartments.

It is claimed the board incorrectly accepted the developer’s analysis as to the nature of daylighting applicable to kitchenettes in the apartments. The applicants say the higher ADF (Average Daylight Factor) standard of 2 per cent for kitchens should have been applied, not the 1.5 per cent figure that was applied.

Other grounds concerning bicycle parking provision. The development includes provision for 272 spaces in the basement car park for residents and 72 for visitors.

The applicants say the applicable guidelines should be read as requiring one space per bedroom, rather than per residential unit, and that 373 spaces in total should have been provided.


They also claim the board failed to assess whether there was adequate public transport capacity before granting permission and this materially contravened the Dublin City County Council development plan.

A board inspector noted the height of the proposed development significantly exceeds existing structures on the site and also exceeds the 19m height recommended for this area and could constitute a material contravention of the plan, the applicants say. A developer proposing a development that is in material contravention must outline how the site is well served with public transport but failed to carry out the necessary assessment, it is claimed.

Further claims include the board was not entitled to conclude the issue of noise mitigation could be addressed by a condition recommending noise mitigation measures to be agreed with the planning authority.

It is also claimed some of the planning application documents are inaccurate and that drawings submitted do not accurately reflect the distances from existing buildings on the site to the site boundaries and adjacent residential properties. The board failed to address this issue, it is claimed.

Additional grounds include claims the permission is invalid because it involves a significant incursion Into to the Royal Canal area containing an otter population.

It is also claimed the board failed to apply the correct legal test under the Habitats Directive in respect of examining the impact on bat fauna and otters entitled to strict protection and failed to comply with public participation requirements in how it considered material submitted by the developer relating to bats.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times