Challenge to permission for Cobh scrap metal facility dismissed

Move by local residents to overturn March 2013 permission for facility rejected in High Court

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan in the High Court has rejected a challenge by local residents aimed at overturning  permission for a scrap metal processing facility, waste storage facility and quayside storage at Cork Dockyard, Rushbrooke Commercial Park, Cobh. File photograph:  Auscape/UIG via Getty Images

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan in the High Court has rejected a challenge by local residents aimed at overturning permission for a scrap metal processing facility, waste storage facility and quayside storage at Cork Dockyard, Rushbrooke Commercial Park, Cobh. File photograph: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images

 

The High Court has dismissed a challenge to An Bord Pleanála’s grant of permission for construction of a scrap metal processing facility at the former ship building yard in Cobh, Co Cork.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan rejected the challenge by local residents aimed at overturning the March 2013 permission for a scrap metal processing facility, waste storage facility and quayside storage at Cork Dockyard, Rushbrooke Commercial Park, Cobh.

There was nothing unreasonable or irrational about the board’s decision, he said.

After Cobh Town Council refused to grant permission for the project, that decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Ten conditions

A board inspector recommended in his report that planning permission be refused, but the board granted permission subject to 10 conditions.

  In their action, members of the Cork Harbour Alliance for Responsible Development claimed the development at the site, formerly known as the Verolme Dockyard, would generate a large volume of extra traffic that would endanger public safety.

They alleged the board failed to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in accordance with requirements of the 2000 Planning and Development Act and EU law.

In opposing the application, the board said it carried out an EIA of the proposed development.

It had determined the development would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety, would not give rise to additional traffic congestion, would not cause serious injury to nearby property and would not be injurious to public safety, it said.

Cork Dockery Holdings Ltd, which sought permission for the scrap metal facilities, and Cobh Town Council were notice parties.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Noonan said he was satisfied the board carried out the requisite EIA in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Development 2000 Act before deciding to grant permission.

Left in no doubt

It was “perfectly clear” the board “explicitly engaged” with the traffic issue, and the residents were left in no doubt as to the reasons for the decision, he added. The board was entitled to reach a different conclusion from its own inspector based on the same evidence concerning traffic movements.

He said one condition of the permission, which required the developer to provide car parking spaces on its own land if spaces close to the site entrance were displaced, was unenforceable, could not have been regarded as essential to the development and was severable from the permission.  That finding does not prohibit the development proceeding, he stressed.