Blackrock residents bring new challenge against Press Up owners' apartments plan

An Bord Pleanála conceded last month in response to a ground alleging a conflict of interest in the decision of the part of the former deputy chair of An Bord Pleanála, Paul Hyde
Blackrock residents bring new challenge against Press Up owners' apartments plan

High court reporters

Residents of Blackrock, south Co Dublin, have initiated their second High Court challenge to planning permission for hundreds of apartments in Temple Hill granted to the co-owners of the Press Up Hospitality Group.

An Bord Pleanála conceded last month in the residents’ judicial review over an April 2022 approval for 493 apartments in a €182 million development at the site of St Teresa’s House.

The concession came in response to a ground alleging a conflict of interest in the decision of the part of the former deputy chair of An Bord Pleanála, Paul Hyde.

That case has been adjourned for the making of final orders and it is not yet clear if the developer will seek to have that matter remitted to the board for fresh consideration, the residents say.

The Residents of St Vincent’s Park, Avondale Court Residents and 16 other locals are now seeking to challenge a previous planning permission, which was also granted to Paddy McKillen jnr and Matthew Ryan’s development firm, Oval Target Limited.

Vincent Park resident Bryan Byrne says a representative of the developer informed locals last month that the firm intended to commence development as soon as possible on foot of the 2019 permission for 294 apartments on the same site.

The residents’ single ground of challenge in their new case is that a similar conflict of interest arises in this earlier planning permission.

In court documents, the residents claim Mr Hyde was a deciding member of the panel that gave the permission. They allege his brother is a partner in an engineering consultancy that conducted the fire safety engineering and access consulting for the proposed project.

Media reports claimed Mr Hyde had identified an interest in cases involving this consulting company on the relevant register of interests, they claim. Notwithstanding this declaration, they claim, the case was assigned to Mr Hyde and he voted in favour of granting permission.

Alleged conflict

The locals, represented by Stephen Dodd SC and FP Logue solicitor Eoin Brady, say the alleged conflict only came to light in recent months. Therefore, they are asking the court to significantly extend the time within which they can apply to the court seeking to judicially review a planning decision.

Jarlath Fitzsimons SC, for Oval, which is a notice party in the proceedings, told the court on Monday that his client intends to contest the resident’s application seeking a time extension and the court’s permission to pursue their action. He said the developer has undertaken not to carry out further works for now.

Mr Justice David Holland noted substantial works have already been carried out at the site. He adjourned the leave hearing, to be heard on notice to An Bord Pleanála and the developer, to a date in January.

The residents want the court to grant a stay at that point on works being carried out at the site until their court proceedings have been resolved, which they hope will result in the 2019 permission being quashed.

The locals claim the permitted development, of 291 units, will have a “very significant impact” on the amenities of the local area. They claim they are not opposed to the development of housing at the site and they support “appropriate residential development” there.

However, they have “significant concerns” about its extent and scale. Their judicial review, they say, concerns the integrity of the planning system.

As well as the two groups, the individuals who have brought both judicial review cases are: Vincent Park residents Mr Byrne, Máire Ní Caísil, Alan and Marie Doherty, and Denise Kavanagh; Temple Road residents Michael and Siobhán Coleman, John Paul Comer, Catherine Curran, Mary Donohoe, and James Nohilly; and Avondale Court residents Mary O’Sullivan, Kathrin Riodan, Charlie Smith, and David and Hazel Temple.

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