Planners admit ‘error’ in approving development at St Anne’s Park

An Board Pleanála agrees to quash approval for over 530 homes next to north Dublin park

A file image of a protest over plans to build 536 residential units on the St Paul’s playing fields at St Anne’s Park, Raheny, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.

A file image of a protest over plans to build 536 residential units on the St Paul’s playing fields at St Anne’s Park, Raheny, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.

 

An Bord Pleanála has told the High Court it made an error in its decision to grant planning permission for a development of more than 500 residential units near St Anne’s Park in north Dublin.

Mr Justice David Barniville was told by Fintan Valentine BL, for the board, that it would, as a result, agree to an order quashing the permission.

Earlier this year, the board gave Crekav Trading, part of developer Marlet, the approval to build 104 houses and 432 apartments on lands in Raheny used by St Paul’s College for six playing pitches.

That decision has been challenged by Clonres CLG, which represents residents from the Clontarf area; environmental campaigner Peter Sweetman; and John Conway and the Louth Environmental Group.

Among various claims, they argued the board’s decision was fundamentally flawed, that it failed to undertake an appropriate assessment on the conservation of natural habitats of wild flora and fauna and failed to comply with the EU Birds Directive.

Proceedings were brough against the board, Ireland and the Attorney General and the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in respect of the decision.

The developers are notice parties to the proceedings, which were briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Barniville on Thursday.

Assessment

The judge was informed by Mr Valentine that the board accepted it had made an error regarding the manner it had recorded an appropriate assessment conducted on the site as required under the EU Habitats Directive.

As a result, the board was prepared to consent to orders quashing the planning decision. The judge adjourned to matter to next month to allow the parties and notice parties consider what the board had said.

The cases were brought on grounds including an appropriate assessment on the possible adverse effects the development will have on the site was not properly carried out.

The site, it is claimed, is a significant foraging ground for the internationally important population of East Canadian High Arctic Light-bellied Brent Geese, and other protected species curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull and Oystercatcher.

The lands subject of the proceedings was formally owned by the Vincentian Fathers, trustees of the all-boys secondary school St Paul’s College. Local sports club have also used the pitches. The planning application was made directly by the developer to An Bord Pleanála under a fast-track process for large housing projects which bypasses the local authority.