The High Court yesterday quashed a decision of An Bord Pleanála in a case relating to building height limits in Dublin. Orpen Franks led the case for a homeowner living adjacent to the apartment building at St Clare’s, Harold’s Cross.
Breach of Building Height Limit
The case challenged An Bord Pleanála’s decision permitting 28 ‘penthouse’ apartments to be built on top of the existing apartments. The development would have added a 6th floor, bringing the total number of residential units on the site to 248.
Our client, an adjacent homeowner, challenged the decision in judicial review proceedings. An Bord Pleanála ultimately conceded the primary ground of this challenge, concerning its failure to give reasons for deciding to permit a breach of the building height limits in the Dublin City development Plan.
The court held that the developer, a Marlet Group company, bore no responsibility for the illegality in the decision which An Bord Pleanála conceded.
The matter will now be remitted to An Bord Pleanála who agreed to appoint a new inspector to conduct a new assessment and report. This will inform a new decision to be made by An Bord Pleanála. The court further held that our client’s rights are fully preserved in respect of all remaining grounds of challenge, in the event of any difficulties with any later decision of the Board.
Challenging Strategic Housing Development Decisions
Planning applications for larger Strategic Housing Developments can be made directly to An Bord Pleanála. The scheme was introduced in 2017 to fast-track new estates and developments, to help ease the housing crisis.
Due to expire last year, it was then extended for another two years. It cuts out the need to apply to county or city councils for planning permission. Legal challenges are requested to overturn An Bord Pleanála decisions.
Using The Judicial Review Process
This decision is a practical example of the use of judicial review as a means to secure a positive outcome. This is a particular concern in respect of decisions of An Bord Pleanála on strategic housing developments, where a single application is made directly to An Bord Pleanála and there is no appeal available.
Litigation partner Daragh O’Donovan and Senior Associate Laura Bolger brought the action with barristers Niall Handy and Neil Steen SC, and expert evidence from HRA Town Planning Consultants.
Our team have a proven track record of excellence advising property developers and objectors in complex planning, environmental, property and construction matters. Make contact with us and we can assist you to navigate the difficult issues arising in these specialist areas of law.