By Ann O'Loughlin
Four people who own properties near Croke Park are challenging the go-ahead for a proposed development of a new route to and from the stadium which they say will adversely affect their houses.
The four say they are very concerned about the impact of the development on their properties at Ardilaun Square and Sackville Gardens.
They say they support regeneration of the area but contend the planning issues raised by the proposed development have not been properly assessed by Dublin City Council which, they say, has wrongly abrogated responsibility for issues like road safety to the GAA.
Niall Handy BL, for the four, secured leave today from Mr Justice Seamus Noonan to bring judicial review proceedings against the Council over the planned development, a local authority own development, in the area of Croke Villas, Ardilaun Square, Ardilaun Road, Sackville Avenue and Sackville Gardens.
It is part of the Council's masterplan for redevelopment and regeneration of the area.
In the proceedings, the four want orders quashing the December 4 decision of the Council's elected members approving the development, plus the November 23, 2017 report of the Coucil's CEO recommending approval.
Mr Handy also applied for a stay on works related to the development but the judge directed the stay application be made on notice to the Council and returned it to February 20.
Counsel said his clients are particularly concerned to get a stay preventing the planned opening up of the cul de sac that is Sackville Gardens, which has six late Victorian houses, so as to provide pedestrian and emergency vehicle access to Croke Park.
It is claimed Sackville Gardens, which faces the Ballybough railway line and Royal Canal, has a distinct character, historical significance and amenity, and is part of a designated conservation area.
The development will involve removing a wall at the end of the cul de sac and extending Sackville Gardens to provide a new road between the end of the cul de sac and Ardilaun Square/Road where there is now green space.
The applicants say this would "completely transform" the character and residential amenity of an "otherwise sleepy cul de sac" by creating a major new pedestrian thoroughfare providing a key access route to and from the Cusack Stand, Hill 16, the GAA Musuem and shop and an exit route from the Davin Stand.
The first two applicants are Kim Griffin, a part-time tutor, who lives at Ardilaun Square, Ballybough and Tony Henry, a landlord and property manager living at No 2 Sackville Gardens. He also owns No 3 and part owns No 4 Sackville Gardens, and manages the individually let properties within all three.
Noel Kelly, the third applicant, is a landlord living at Fernhill, Thornamby Road, Howth. He co-owns No 4 Sackville Gardens with Mr Henry. Philip Hughes, the fourth applicant, is a retired construction worker living at Churchfield Lawns, Skerries, who owns No 6 Sackville Gardens and says he is directly affected in the same way.
The court was told the owner of No 5 Sackville Gardens is currently indisposed but had expressed similar concerns to the four.
In seeking leave, Mr Handy said his side's arguments include the development scheme, which includes provision for a new "processional" entrance to Croke Park, development of a handball centre and seven handball alleys, and for opening up of Sackville Gardens, should, for the purposes of the planning acts, have been considered and assessed as a whole and not in different parts.
What had happened here amounted to "project splitting" to avoid the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening, he said. The applicants did not claim that was done in bad faith but maintained there should have been an EIA, and a screening for an Appropriate Assessment, carried out in relation to the entire scheme.