Dublin developer challenges refusal of Merrion Road apartment scheme

The planning board overturned Dublin City Council’s permission concluding the scheme would depreciate the value of nearby properties.
Dublin developer challenges refusal of Merrion Road apartment scheme

High court reporters

A Dublin developer has initiated a High Court action over An Bord Pleanála’s refusal to permit the construction of a five-storey apartment scheme after concluding it would depreciate the value of nearby properties.

The planning board overturned Dublin City Council’s permission that had been granted to developer Brian Kennedy to demolish the existing building on Merrion Road, Dublin 4, for the development of 25 apartments, along with a resident’s gym.

Depreciate value

Mr Kennedy, with an address on Ailesbury Road, Ballsbridge, claims the board appears to justify refusing permission by concluding the proposed development would “depreciate the value of property in the vicinity and would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”. 

His counsel, barrister Eoghan Foley BL  said the board has not explained how it came to find that nearby property prices would go down if the scheme was built. He submitted it is a “mere assertion” and a “nonsensical position” to hold in the current climate.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan gave permission for Mr Kennedy to pursue his claim. The matter was adjourned until next month.

Mr Kennedy’s judicial review action is against the board, while Dublin City Council is a notice party. Also notice parties in the proceedings are those who appealed the council’s permission to the board: three locals, the Merrion Village Residents Association, and the residents of Block 3 Merrion Village.

In documents before the courts, Mr Kennedy says the decision under challenge was the second in recent years that saw the board overturn on appeal an earlier local authority permission for an apartment scheme at The Pavilion site at 204-205 Merrion Road, which currently comprises a two-storey building and a tennis court.

Conditions

The board’s second refusal, in March 2022, went against its inspector’s recommendations to approve the development subject to 19 conditions, it is claimed.

The inspector had advised that the proposal constituted acceptable residential density, would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities, and would not depreciate the value of property in the vicinity.

Among Mr Kennedy’s grounds of challenge is a claim An Bord Pleanála failed in its duty to provide adequate reasons for reaching its decision. Accordingly, he claims he has no ability to identify why the decision was made or how he could address shortcomings in a third planning application. 

Further, he alleges the board failed to have regard to and/or misinterpreted government policy in relation to developments proposed on underutilised land.

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