Objectors ‘surprised’ Sandymount cycleway does not need planning permission

Local resident and councillor believe decision should have been referred to An Bord Pleanála

A mock-up of the proposed Strand Road cycle path. Work on the project has been temporarily halted pending a hearing of legal objections scheduled for June. Image via Dublin City Council

A mock-up of the proposed Strand Road cycle path. Work on the project has been temporarily halted pending a hearing of legal objections scheduled for June. Image via Dublin City Council

 

Dublin City Council has itself decided that work on the Sandymount cycleway is does not need planning permission, the High Court has been told.

The fact that the council took this decision itself is said to have surprised objectors to the project.

In February, the court ordered a halt to a start on work for the new two-lane cycle way on Strand Road/Beach Road following a challenge by a local resident and a councillor.

The case is scheduled to be heard in June over two days.

On Wednesday, when Mr Justice Charles Meenan was updated in relation to preparation of documents in advance of the trial, Neil Steen SC, for the objectors, Peter Carvill and Cllr Mannix Flynn, said all the paperwork is almost complete and the matter will be ready for hearing as scheduled.

In the meantime, counsel said, the council had decided the cycleway was exempt development - does not require planning permission - under a process provided for through the Planning and Development Act, 2000.

This provision allows a council to decide itself whether something is exempt or refer the issue to An Bord Pleanála for a decision.

Mr Steen said the council’s decision to make the decision itself, rather than refer the matter to the board, came “somewhat as a surprise to us”.

Notwithstanding that, his side had itself referred the exemption declaration question to the board and its decision is awaited, he said.

Given the large amount of paperwork it was possible the two days set aside for the hearing may not be enough, counsel said.

Mr Justice Meenan said the case was “getting no more than two days” and he would, if necessary, put down time limits for the parties to make their cases.

He gave directions for a further exchange of documents and submissions and adjourned it to June.

In his decision halting the works, the judge said the risk of greater injustice lay in not granting a stay on the council’s works pending determination of the full challenge.