Dartmouth Square residents challenge Metro ‘enabling works’

Group says major alterations made to planning application for office redevelopment

Residents of Dartmouth Square in Dublin claim ‘enabling works’ for the proposed underground Metro, which will affect their properties, were approved without going through proper planning procedures. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

Residents of Dartmouth Square in Dublin claim ‘enabling works’ for the proposed underground Metro, which will affect their properties, were approved without going through proper planning procedures. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

Twenty-three residents of Dartmouth Square in Ranelagh, Dublin, claim “enabling works” for the city’s proposed underground Metro, which will affect their properties, were approved without going through proper planning procedures.

The residents have been given leave by the High Court to seek to quash An Bord Pleanála’s approval for an office redevelopment project at the old Carroll’s building on Grand Parade near their homes.

They claims significant alterations were made to the original plan from the developer of the offices, Grand Parade Trading Co, following consultations with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) or the National Roads Authority (NRA).

They also allege failure to notify the public that works to provide for a future Metro station would be incorporated into the development. This means part of the Metro line has been determined before any public examination of the route takes place, they claim.

Grand Parade Trading Co was granted permission in April to refurbish the existing eight-storey Carrolls Building, a protected structure on a 1.4 acre site. A number of warehouse buildings to the south of that building will be demolished and replaced with another three-to-six storey office building, to be connected to the existing building with a six-storey glazed atrium.

Some of the residents objected during the planning process claiming it would adversely affect the character and amenity of Dartmouth Square. It was also claimed its size and scale would have an overbearing and devastating impact on what is a designated architectural conservation area.

‘Morphed’

Seeking leave to challenge the planning decision, Gavin Ralston SC, for the residents, said the original application “morphed into permission to build these Metro lines long before the Metro has been finalised”.

The residents claim the board failed to apply proper procedures to the consideration of the Metro works and allege failure to re-advertise the planning application to include the Metro works. They claim the board permitted the TII and/or the NRA “to decide upon the works” required for the Metro.

The board permitted the Grand Parade Trading Co plan to change in substance from the initial planning application as advertised without ensuring compliance with relevant legal requirements, they claim.

The board also failed to take into account that the Metro works would affect surrounding areas, including where the residents live, it is claimed. They also allege failure to carry out an environmental assessment in relation to the underground rail works.

Jerry Barnes, a chartered town planner and surveyor for the residents, said in an affidavit his clients were “completely excluded” from an opportunity to make representations over the proposed rail works. It will “have the effect of pre-empting for all time the route of the Metro to their detriment”, he said.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted the residents leave to bring judicial review proceedings against the board and the developer following the application, which they were the only side represented for.

After being told it was proposed to start construction works in July, the judge adjourned the matter to later this month. The residents intend to apply to stay the works pending determination of the legal action.