Challenge to Aldi supermarket in Meath rejected

High Court found Eoin Kelly failed to sustain any of the grounds advanced by him

Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

A challenge to planning permission for a new Aldi supermarket in Laytown, Co Meath, has been dismissed by the High Court.

Eoin Kelly, a structural engineer whose family home was in Laytown and who now resides in nearby Bettystown, brought judicial review proceedings against An Bord Pleanála over its September 2017 decision to permit the demolition of a disused nursing home at Strand Road and replace it with a 1,729 metre Aldi store and car park.

The board opposed the challenge. Meath Co Council and Aldi were notice parties in the case.

Mr Kelly’s grounds included that the board inspector limited consideration of a screening report vis-a-vis the affect of the development on special areas of conservation (SAC) to a two kilometre radius when he was obliged, under EU Habitat regulations, to consider an area within 15km. The Boyne river coast and estuary SAC is located 4 km north of the site.


The inspector found no direct interference or loss of habitat would occur as a result of the development but he had applied the wrong statutory test in doing so, it was claimed.

Mr Kelly also claimed there was a fundamental flaw in the decision in that the board incorrectly classified the site as “edge of centre” rather than “out of centre”.

Mr Justice David Barniville ruled Mr Kelly failed to sustain any of the grounds advanced by him.

He found the board and its inspector did not apply an incorrect test for screening of the development under the Habitats Directive. The decision also did not contain any gaps or lacunae with particular reference to run-off from concrete during the construction of the store.

He found there was no error in the identification of the primary retail area.