Court order to be made as An Bord Pleanála is to concede over alleged conflict of interest

An Bord Pleanála has already indicated it is to concede in the court action over the planning decision about which concerns were raised regarding an alleged potential undeclared conflict of interest by its deputy chairperson Paul Hyde.
Court order to be made as An Bord Pleanála is to concede over alleged conflict of interest

High Court reporters

Final High Court orders will be made in two weeks on a judicial review legal challenge to a refusal of planning permission for an apartment scheme on the old Hewitt’s Distillery site in Cork city.

An Bord Pleanála has already indicated it is to concede in the court action over the planning decision about which concerns were raised regarding an alleged potential undeclared conflict of interest by its deputy chairperson Paul Hyde.

Eichsfeld Ltd was refused permission in March for a fast track apartment scheme in Blackpool, Cork city, on a site near property owned by a company in which Mr Hyde had a 25 per cent share.

Mr Hyde’s stake in H20 Property Holdings Ltd, which is controlled by his father Stephen Hyde, was not declared in his declarations of interest to An Bord Pleanála. He has insisted there was no need to because the company was dormant and not carrying on any trade, in effect. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The developer’s judicial review, aimed at overturning the refusal for 191 build-to-rent apartments, is understood to have been grounded on an allegation of “objective bias” in that Mr Hyde had allegedly failed to declare a conflict of interest in the decision.

The matter came before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys on Monday.

Barrister Kieran Kelly, for Eichsfeld, said the board had indicated it would not be opposing the substantive relief sought.

Counsel for the board, Jonathan Newman SC, asked that the leave application would be adjourned for a fortnight, so the parties could agree on the court orders that will be sought.

Mr Justice Humphreys adjourned the case for two weeks.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has appointed barrister Remy Farrell to examine this and two other planning decisions. A six-week deadline has been set for the inquiry.

Mr Hyde has temporarily stepped aside from his role “without prejudice”.

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