Housing plan on part of GAA grounds faces three court challenges

Challenges brought over Dublin planning approval for 161 apartments and townhouses

Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Three separate High Court challenges have been brought over planning approval for 161 apartments and townhouses on part of a GAA club’s grounds in south Dublin.

The Templeogue Synge Street GAA grounds at Dolphin Park, Crumlin, were previously owned by the Christian Brothers for the Synge Street secondary school.

In 1990, they were transferred to the school’s past pupils’ association which later merged with Templeogue GAA to form the Templeogue Synge Street GAA club.

Kevin’s GAA club also had the use of the grounds under the Christian Brothers and, when the ownership transfer took place, Kevin’s says it was assured it would have the same rights of use as it had in the past.

Last year, the Templeogue Synge Street club applied for permission to Dublin City Council for the residential development which it said was required to pay for upgrading its existing sport facilities.

The upgrade included a new clubhouse and enhancements to two existing GAA pitches, floodlighting and an all-weather training facility.

Council planners refused permission for reasons including the development, on some 17 per cent of the lands, would lead to the loss of the city’s green infrastructure “in an area already deficient in green space”.

The club appealed and An Bord Pleanála granted permission last November.

On Monday, three separate parties were given leave, on a one-side only represented basis, by Mr Justice Charles Meenan to bring judicial review proceedings against the board over its decision.

Templeogue Synge Street GAA is a notice party.

The challenges are by Kevin’s GAA club; David O’Sullivan, a film and TV producer who lives adjacent to the entrance to the grounds at Crumlin Road; and by Barry Carroll, a financial consultant who lives part of the year in what had been for generations the family home at Crumlin Road and who also lives in St Martin in Guernsey. Mr Carroll’s company, BPAC Property Holdings (Ireland), which holds the house for his benefit, is also a plaintiff.

The court heard the grounds of the challenges include zoning, loss of green space, environmental effects and traffic hazard.

Mr O’Sullivan says the GAA property is currently accessed through a narrow road and gateway at the side of his home. He has a right of way through the laneway to the rear of his property where there is a garage with doors opening on to the laneway.

With almost 200 car parking spaces being provided in the new development and works required to the laneway, he claims he will be unable to safely access his right of way and access to the garage. He is also concerned about overlooking of his property, loss of light and anti-social behaviour.

Kevin’s GAA says, while the residential element of the development would take 17 per cent of the site, the total built area would be 30 per cent. The club says off-pitch areas are currently used by Kevin’s for nursery and hurling activities by younger teams.

It says a juvenile player could easily strike a sliotar and hit a window in the new apartments because the pitches would be so close to them and this could lead to nuisance actions against the club.

Mr Carroll, among his grounds, challenges the board’s acceptance of its inspector’s report that the development, although on land zoned open space, met a requirement that housing can be permitted in “highly exceptional circumstances” of limited once-off development. This was in breach of fair procedures and/or so irrational as to be unreasonable, he claims.

All three challengers say the development will permanently deprive light-bellied Brent Geese, which visit the site to graze during winter, of a significant amount of foraging land.

They also claim there are serious gaps in an appropriate assessment and a natura impact statement for the site.

The cases were returned to next month.