St Anne’s Park campaigners ‘vindicated’ by judicial review outcome

Residents had challenged ‘fast-track’ decision on development of 500 homes on pitches

In the High Court , Mr Justice David Barniville said he would “remit” the planning application by Crekav Trading to An Bord Pleanála, which will allow it to reconsider its decision.

In the High Court , Mr Justice David Barniville said he would “remit” the planning application by Crekav Trading to An Bord Pleanála, which will allow it to reconsider its decision.

 

A residents’ group campaigning against the construction of more than 500 homes on playing pitches beside St Anne’s Park in north Dublin has said it feels “vindicated” by a High Court decision on the development.

Clonres CLG, which represents residents from the Clontarf area, and two environmentalists, took a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission for the development by Crekav Trading to build 104 houses and 432 apartments on former playing fields east of St Paul’s College, beside St Anne’s Park in Raheny.

The action was the first challenge to a decision made under the State’s new “fast-track” planning system for large-scale housing developments.

The board last June told the High Court it had made an error when it granted permission. It said the error related to the recording of its decision.

On Tuesday, Mr Justice David Barniville said he would “remit” the application to the board, which will allow it to reconsider the decision and make a fresh order on the planning application.

If the board makes the same decision, based on the same information, it would be our position that they do not have sufficient information to reach that decision

While the campaigners had wanted the board’s decision to be overturned, so Crekav would have to start the process again if it wanted permission for the development, Deirdre Nichol of Clonres said they had been vindicated.

Protesters against the application by Crekav Trading GP Ltd to build 536 residential units on the St Paul’s playing fields at St Anne’s Park, Raheny, Dublin, pictured in January 2018. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Protesters against the application by Crekav Trading GP Ltd to build 536 residential units on the St Paul’s playing fields at St Anne’s Park, Raheny, Dublin, pictured in January 2018. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Costs

“From our point of view we have been vindicated in taking the judicial review as costs were awarded in our favour. This indicates were were right to take the action.”

She said the group would await the board’s decision, but she said if it again granted permission to Crekav the group would take another judicial review.

“If the board makes the same decision, based on the same information, it would be our position that they do not have sufficient information to reach that decision.”

In his ruling, Mr Justice Barniville said he had not made any determination on other grounds raised by the group in their court action, and should proceedings be brought over any future decision by the board on the planning application the applicants could raise any of these grounds, he said.

Ms Nichol said this was also a positive outcome. “Our substantive arguments in the case have not yet been heard and not been addressed.”

Crekav’s application was made under the new Strategic Housing Development “fast-track” planning system. This allows applications for schemes of more than 100 homes to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála, bypassing the local authority decision phase.

The new system, designed to remove planning “blockages” to the construction of homes to address the housing crisis, came into effect a year ago, but only a small number of applications have yet been processed by the board.

The Crekav decision was the first to be subject to a judicial review, the only form of appeal open to third parties under the new system.