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Sunday 22 April 2018

Community vows to raise €125k for park homes battle

Residents at the St Paul’s housing development public meeting. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Residents at the St Paul’s housing development public meeting. Photo: Steve Humphreys

A North Dublin community has pledged to raise more than €125,000 in a drastic effort to stop more than 500 homes from being built in its area.

Thousands of euros have already been donated towards a judicial review, following An Bord Pleanala's decision to grant planning permission for the controversial development beside St Anne's Park, Raheny.

This was despite more than 1,000 local objections.

The disputed development will be at St Paul's College, Raheny, adjacent to St Anne's Park, and will ultimately lead to the demise of playing fields on the site, which are utilised by many clubs.

Pledge

The decision, which was made under a fast-track planning process, is subject to 24 conditions. At least 10pc of all homes will be for social housing.

Following a meeting at Clontarf Castle on Tuesday, followed by a smaller one on Wednesday, hundreds of people lined up to hand over money or pledge donations for the high-risk case.

The total sum raised has not been disclosed, but sources say it's more than enough to fund a barrister to access the case.

"We believe this will be in the region of €5,000 but with the donations raised already we can certainly afford this cost," said the source.

The next step of the process is said to be €25,000 to accumulate all the necessary paperwork.

Objectors have until the end of May to make their application in the High Court on an ex-party basis.

Their legal representative will then state the reasons for a judicial review to the judge, who will decide whether to accept or reject the case.

If the application is granted it could cost both the developer and An Bord Pleanala more than €125,000 each.

But if the case goes against the objectors they could lose the same amount.

Last year, An Bord Pleanala saw about 30 judicial review outcomes. Out of these, only two cases were judgments against the board.

"We believe we have a very strong case," said Deirdre Nichol, of Clontarf Residents Association.

"This is much more than a local issue. Despite unanimous, cross-party opposition to this development, An Bord Pleanala still gave it the go-ahead.

"If we don't fight, then what's stopping developers from taking up every bit of green space we have?," she added.

Developer Marlet Property Group said: "This development will provide 500 badly needed houses close to Dublin city, making a contribution to alleviating the housing shortage in the capital city. It will respect the wonderful amenity that is the neighbouring St Anne's Park."

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