500 apartments in Raheny 'should not have got approval'

Deadline looms for judicial review over decision to permit 500 homes

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan told councillors the board’s decision could have legal implications for the city development plan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan told councillors the board’s decision could have legal implications for the city development plan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

An Bord Pleanála should not have granted permission for the construction of more than 500 apartments and houses on former religious order lands beside St Anne’s Park in Raheny, Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan has said.

However, Mr Keegan said the council did not have the right to take a judicial review of the board’s decision. The deadline for any party to apply for a judicial review of the case is Tuesday.

The board last month granted permission to Crekav Trading for 104 houses and 432 apartments on former playing fields east of St Paul’s College on Sybil Hill Road in Raheny, despite receiving more than 1,000 objections.

The 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.

Local authorities, while no longer decision makers for these cases, are required to submit their views to the board. Mr Keegan, on behalf of the council submitted that permission should be refused due to the potential impact on migrating geese, and the loss of playing pitches as a community facility.

‘Planning advice’

Mr Keegan has told councillors the board’s decision could have legal implications for the city development plan.

“My recommendation, based on planning advice, was the board should not have granted this,” he said.

The council will seek legal advice on whether it needs to change the development plan to afford better protection for the green spaces of institutional lands, he said.

“The intention is to get legal advice as to what are the implications, and are there any measures we could take to protect the development plan.”

However, Mr Keegan said the council had already received legal advice that it did not have “locus standing” or legal standing to take a judicial review of the board’s decision. Several councillors had called for the council to initiate judicial review proceedings against the board.

A spokesman for the board said it does not comment on decided cases.

Crekav bought the 15 acres of land from the Vincentian Order, trustees of St Paul’s College, for a reported €17 million in 2015. It subsequently applied to the council to build 107 houses and 274 apartments on the land, but withdrew this application to seek a larger scheme through the new fast-track system.