Dublin Cycling Campaign Wins High Court Action Against An Bord Pleanála
Dublin Cycling Campaign has won its High Court challenge against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission for the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) called ‘Connolly Quarter’. This development by Oxley/Ballymore was to be built on the site of a car park, owned by state body CIÉ, to the rear of Connolly Station.
The proposed development was to include 135 new car parking spaces which the developer argued did not require planning permission. It was Dublin Cycling Campaign’s contention that An Bord Pleanála erred in law by not assessing these 135 new car parking spaces as part of the planning application.
In his judgement, Mr. Justice Denis McDonald found that the proposed development did not constitute “strategic housing development” and as a result An Bord Pleanála had acted outside its power when it granted planning permission. Justice McDonald noted that the developer Oxley/Ballymore “clearly took an informed decision to deliberately not include” an application for the car park. “Had such an application been made,” Justice McDonald continued, “the Board would have been forced to conclude that the proposed development did not fall within the ambit of ‘strategic housing development’”.
“The developers wanted to have their cake and eat it too,” said Kevin Baker, chairperson of Dublin Cycling Campaign, in his reaction to the judgement. “They wanted to build 135 new parking spaces to sweeten their deal with CIÉ, but they didn’t want those same new parking spaces assessed as part of the Strategic Housing Development.”
Dublin Cycling Campaign challenged the developer’s approach in its original submission to An Bord Pleanála (ABP), stating that the new car parking spaces required planning permission. Dublin City Council echoed these concerns in its submission to ABP. It recommended that the car parking be omitted, and that it should form part of a separate planning application. ABP ignored the concerns of Dublin Cycling Campaign and Dublin City Council in this regard.
“Reducing excessive city centre car parking is a key objective in our vision of Dublin as a vibrant, liveable city - not one clogged by congestion and emissions,” says Baker. “It is unlikely that Dublin City Council would have granted permission for a new city centre public car park, particularly one without any public bicycle parking. This is the policy of the Dublin City Development Plan agreed by the elected city councillors.”
FP Logue Solicitors and James Devlin SC with John Kenny BL assisting took the case on behalf of Dublin Cycling Campaign.
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