Council failed to consider impact of centre on Malahide bats, court told

Challenge to plans for forest adventure area at Malahide Demense, close to historic castle

Fingal County council failed to consider what impact a forest adventure centre in the grounds of Malahide Castle would have on the local bat population, the High Court was told. Photograph: Getty Images

Fingal County council failed to consider what impact a forest adventure centre in the grounds of Malahide Castle would have on the local bat population, the High Court was told. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Fingal County council failed to consider what impact a forest adventure centre in the grounds of Malahide Castle would have on the local bat population, the High Court was told on Wednesday.

Noel Mahon of Inbhir Ide Close, Malahide, Co Dublin is challenging plans for a forest adventure and multi-reinforced grass area at Malahide Demense, a wooded area close to the historic castle.

Mr Mahon, who walks every day in the area claims the proposed development is in essence a high level route through the trees using wire ropes for transport, support and safety.

Alan Doyle, his solicitor, told the court the decision was flawed on the basis the local authority had failed to take a number of considerations into account.

Mr Dolye said the council had not considered whether there would be a disturbance of the local population of bats, a protected species in Ireland, and their feeding areas.

Green light

In a legal challenge to planning permission by Fingal County Council, which authorised the proposals, Mr Mahon seeks an order quashing the Council’s decision of July 11th last giving the proposed development the green light. The council authorised the development at a meeting by a vote of 18 to 16.

Mr Doyle said it was Mr Mahon’s case that the council erred by deciding the development did not need an Environmental Impact Assessment to be conducted before giving the proposal the go ahead. The council had also failed to notify An Taisce of the application, given that Malahide Castle and surrounding feature’s status as national monuments.

He said Mr Mahon had organised a Save Malahide Woodland campaign. It was not known who would build and operate the development and it was presumed Fingal Co Council would put the running of it out to tender.

Mr Justice Raymond Fullam granted Mr Mahon leave to challenge the proposal and placed a stay on the council’s decision. The matter will return before the court later this month.