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Thursday 20 September 2018

Relief for protesters as approval for St Anne's Park homes is quashed

Killester schoolgirl Annie Spence at a park protest. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Killester schoolgirl Annie Spence at a park protest. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Campaigners opposed to 530 new homes beside St Anne's Park in Raheny have breathed a sigh of relief after An Bord Pleanala admitted an error in granting planning permission.

Questions are now being asked about how the board came to grant permission for the large-scale development.

It was the first Dublin project under new rules that bypass the council stage of planning permission. Instead, plans go straight to the board.

Lost

"If the campaigners had not taken judicial review proceedings, development would have started and the amenity would be lost forever," said Senator Aodhan O Riordain.

"It has been a really uplifting day. It's a day of massive relief after what was a day of despair when the permission was granted," he said.

"The community and the campaigners have been completely vindicated."

Mr O Riordain said An Bord Pleanala's explanation was "not good enough" given the scale of what was proposed and the importance of the decision.

The board told the High Court yesterday that it made an error in deciding to grant planning permission.

Mr Justice David Barniville was told the board would quash its approval for the homes.

Permission had been granted to Crekav Trading, part of developer Marlet, for 104 houses and 432 apartments on lands in Raheny.

The land is currently used by St Paul's College for six playing pitches.

The nature of the mistake made by the board will be fully clarified to the court at a sitting on July 16.

Mr O Riordain said it was still possible for the developer to resubmit its application for planning permission, addressing any concerns the board may have.

As such, the campaign was not over, he said.

"There's more to be done here, the fight will continue."

In an observation on the application, Dublin City Council chief Owen Keegan had recommended the board refuse planning permission before it was granted in April.

A report said the site was a significant foraging ground for the internationally important population of East Canadian high Arctic light-bellied brent geese, and other protected species, including curlews, black-tailed godwits, black-headed gulls and oystercatchers.

Protected

The new Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, welcomed yesterday's hearing.

"The biodiversity of the entire coastal area around Dublin must be protected," he said.

"This decision will encourage all Dubliners that our unique coastline can and will be protected."

An Bord Pleanala did not respond to a request for comment last night, while the developer could not be contacted regarding the ruling.

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