Tidy Towns group challenges approval of Dublin apartment scheme

Order to quash permission for development off Stocking Lane in Rathfarnham sought

The High Court has cleared the way for a local group to bring a legal challenge against An Bord Pleanála's approval of 114 build-to-rent apartments in Rathfarnham, Dublin.

The Ballyboden Tidy Towns Group seeks a court order quashing the permission for the six apartment blocks proposed for a site off Stocking Lane by developer Ardstone Homes Limited, a notice party to the proceedings.

The proposed development, which received planning permission in September, is the final phase of the White Pines Masterplan area, which includes a mix of dwelling types.

The group, represented by FP Logue Solicitors, also seek a number of declarations from the court, including that two articles in Irish regulations for the protection of habitats are invalid due to what they allege is a mis-transposition of an article of a European Union Directive.


Mr Justice Richard Humphreys gave the group permission to bring its judicial review action against the board over its fast-track approval of the development as a Strategic Infrastructure Development. The Attorney General and South Dublin County Council are also respondents in the case.

Among the core grounds of challenge was that the approval of the proposed build materially contravenes the development plan and the local area plan in relation to zoning.

It is claimed the zoning objective of the land is for “new residential communities in accordance with approved area plans”. The development materially contravenes the local plan in relation to dwelling mix, phasing strategy and density, the group claims.

Further, the applicant says the distance between a block in the proposed development and houses in another estate is less than the 35 metres required under the County Development Plan.

The permission is also invalidated, the group claims, as the developer did not accurately fill out an application as per regulatory requirements.

Further, it is claimed the board failed to consider adequately or at all the cumulative effects of the proposed development on the environment as set out in the Planning and Development Act 2000.

The approval is also invalidated by the development’s failure to comply with communal amenity requirements of sustainable housing guidelines, it is alleged. The board’s approach to this error meant there was no effective public participation on this particular, the group claims.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter