The Gazette has published an article about the Judicial Review in OLG.
On 10th March, Judge Garrett Simons delivered his judgment following the Judicial Review hearing that took place on 19th, 20th, and 21st February in the High Court. This case was taken by a local resident, and member of the Roebuck Residents’ Association, Michael Redmond. He took the case without legal representation, due to the costs involved.
The Judicial Review was successful, the judge ordered: “The decision to grant planning permission is invalid and an order of certiorari will be made setting aside An Bord Pleanala’s decision of 15 August 2019”.
This means that the planning permission to build 132 units at Our Lady’s Grove campus is quashed, and the decision has been declared invalid by the High Court.
Roebuck Residents’ Association welcomes this ruling, and sees it as a vindication of the democratic process that has been compromised by the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process. The judgement respects Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s conclusion that planning permission for this development ought to have been refused. It also respects the views of two local Residents’ Associations, many local residents, and parents of children attending the schools on the campus, that the scale and composition of this development were inappropriate for the school campus site.
The Association welcomes the fact that the “Institutional Objective” attached to the zoning of this site has been clarified and strengthened by Judge Simons’ ruling. Any future planning application for this site will now have to accommodate adequate public open space (25% of the campus site), which can be used by the schools and child care facility located on the campus site, as well as by the local community. By our calculations, an extra 2.32 acres will be available. It also means the other provisions attached to the “Institutional Objective” must apply. These are: appropriate density (35-50ha), tree protection and maintaintenance of the open character of the lands, and retention of sufficient space for the expansion of the schools in adjacent land. This ruling will have implications for all other (approx.) 47 sites with an “Institutional Objective” in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.
We wish to note that Mr. Michael Redmond, the local resident who took this case, did so without legal representation, due to the substantial costs involved. We applaud his extremely impressive achievement , and we offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to him for all his hard work, and for representing the local community so ably.
In the High Court today 19th December 2019 (Judge Simons presiding), an order was made setting the date for the hearing of the Judicial Review as Wednesday 19th February 2020. The case has been set down for a 3 day hearing commencing on this date. Legal submissions to support the case to quash the ABP decision were lodged, and these are being circulated to the Respondent (ABP) and notice parties (Durkans) and (DLR).
We would like to thank again the resident who is taking this case, and who is doing it himself without legal representation. An extremely impressive achievement. The Residents’ Association is fully supportive of his actions to date, as the outcome of this case will affect not only our community, but all land zoned Institutional in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.
Thanks to Catherine Martin T.D. for asking the Minister for Education the parliamentary question below on our behalf in relation to the IGB site. We are keen to know when building will start on this site. The recently published list of contract tenders for new school buildings does not include any for Goatstown/Stillorgan. The Minister’s response doesn’t really provide much information however. He does say the secondary school “will open in September 2020 as scheduled, in suitable interim accommodation”. Where will this interim accommodation be located though?
For Written Answer on : 18/12/2019
Question Number(s): 169 Question Reference(s): 53607/19
Department: Education and Skills
Asked by: Catherine Martin T.D.
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the permanent school buildings for the recently opened primary and the post-primary school (details supplied) to be opened in September 2019 in an area will be included in the recently announced contract tenders for new school buildings; if not, when the contract tender for the permanent buildings for these schools is likely to be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) Details supplied: https://www.thejournal.ie/school-building-tender-4917521-Dec2019/ Goatstown Stillorgan Educate Together National School
The permanent buildings for the schools referred to by the Deputy are being delivered under my Department’s Design & Build Programme. Architectural planning for these schools is at an early stage.
Following design development the next stage in the process is an application to the relevant Local Authority for planning permission. The planning permission process will be a key factor for determining the timeline for the delivery of the project.
The primary school to which the Deputy refers is currently located in suitable interim accommodation since September 2019.
The post-primary school for the area referred to by the Deputy will open in September 2020 as scheduled, in suitable interim accommodation.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been sold for development, for €3 million. Most likely apartments will be built here, as it’s zoned for residential development. According to this Irish Times article:
“It is understood that the new owners intend to keep Uncle Tom’s Cabin open and trading for the time being, until a final decision is made on the type of scheme for which planning permission will be sought. “
This will be probably be the last Christmas you can enjoy a cozy pint in this long-established pub.
Some residents may be interested in The Report of the Review Group on the Operation of the Strategic Housing Development process 2017-2019 which was published recently. This was a report compiled to investigate the SHD (Fast-track) planning process, ahead of a possible extension for a further two years. The Residents’ Association made a submission during the public consultation in the summer. We argued against its continuation for various reasons, as did many politicians, community groups etc. This Report has now been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.
This report makes many recommendations to improve the process, including a possible “use it or lose it” clause, if the development is not commenced after a period of eighteen months. The Group also recommended increasing response times during the process, hosting the planning details on a planning authority website, not the developers, allowing the public more access to An Bord Pleanala reports, and also increasing the threshold from 100 units to 200 units. There are many other recommendations listed in the document.
Unfortunately, while Minister Eoghan Murphy agreed with the introduction of the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ clause, he rejected suggestions to double the threshold, claiming it would lead to confusion, and to extend the time-frame for public consultation. The Minister will sign an order to implement the changes before the end of the year.
It’s disappointing that the Minister is not taking on board more of the Report’s recommendations. Thanks to Cllr Anne Colgan for sending this on, and thanks to Senator Victor Boyhan for consulting with us, and communicating the Association’s experience and opinion of this SHD process during the recent Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting.
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 case will be for mention in the High Court on December 19th.
The Residents’ Association is fully supportive of this resident’s actions, and applaud him on his remarkable achievement to date.
Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council commissioned work on an Action Plan for Community, Cultural and Civic for Dundrum. A public consultation was part of this plan. The Residents’ Association submitted a response outlining the lack of civic, cultural, community, park and leisure facilities in the Plan Area, as well as the poor public cycling and pedestrian provisions, and inadequate permeability between locations.
The areas we focus on in our submission are:
- Main Civic, Cultural and Community facility:
Location: Dundrum Village centre.
- Dundrum Park with provision for Indoor and Outdoor Recreation
Location: Central Mental Hospital (CMH) Site
- Improving Liveability by improving walking and Cycling infrastructure
An eagle-eyed member of the Association’s committee spotted the Land Development Agency’s submission to the recent Dundrum Local Area Plan’s public consultation process. It gives an interesting insight into the LDA’s plans for this site.
From our reading of it, the thinking at the time of the submission seems to be:
1) Keeping and refurbishment of buildings to the north.
2) High housing density (Note, 1,500 units is mentioned but that has since been revised down to 1,200 on the LDA’s website).
3) ‘Connections to the wider community’
4) Minimising car parking and ‘reliance on private car commuting’
5) Addition of 2nd vehicle entrance – ‘For emergency purposes’.
You can download and view the submission here. (Word .docx, 2.9MB)