As you are probably all aware, the developer Durkan applied for planning for the site at the back of the campus via the Strategic Housing Development scheme, the fast-track process. The development is to consist of 132 units, in 3 five storey apartment blocks, 19 houses, a new afterschool building, and a smaller 3 storey apartment block.
At the end of August An Bord Pleanála granted permission for this development in its entirety. There were approximately 50 objections in total – from residents, parents at the schools, various politicians, as well as from the Residents’ Association. The CEO of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council recommended in her report that planning be refused, as the development contravened The County Development Plan. The Council’s argument was that the conditions associated with the “Inst” designation on the zoning were not being followed. However despite this, An Bord Pleanála decided to go ahead and award planning, with no significant conditions attached.
This was a very disappointing decision, and one that will not only have an impact on our community, but also a decision that effectively negates the protection afforded to Institutionally zoned land in the whole of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown.
There is no facility for appeal with the SHD/ fast track process. It also appears that the Council’s opinion is effectively meaningless. Certainly in this case it did not appear to be a significant weighting factor. The only option to review the decision after permission is granted is to request a Judicial Review at the High Court. The prohibitive cost of this means that most people are not in a position to take this route. Also it is worth noting that a Judicial Review can only be taken on a point of law, not on the planning decisions.
A resident on Friarsland Road is taking the case to the High Court. His case makes various points but the main ones relate to the superceding of the zoning. It is an absurd situation that this resident is effectively defending ALL “Inst” zoned land in the whole of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown. This judgement will be relevant to all land zoned this way across the county. The prohibitive cost means that this resident has no choice but to take the case himself, without legal representation.
Last week leave to apply for a judicial review was granted. An Bord Pleanála and Durkan will most likely be submitting their own arguments, and the hearing will take place on December 17th. The judge’s decision may or may not be made on that date.
The Residents’ Association is fully supportive of this resident’s actions, and applaud him on his remarkable achievement to date.