A local woman is seeking to overturn planning permission for 358 student accommodation bed spaces and four staff apartments on a site alongside the existing Trinity Hall student accommodation complex in Dartry, Dublin.
The action is by Patricia Kenny, from nearby Temple Road, Dartry, whose husband James was involved in a 20-year saga of litigation with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) concerning the development of student accommodation at Trinity Hall.
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that allowing Mr Kenny to proceed further would be to permit an abuse of process and be “entirely contrary to the principle of the finality of litigation”.
Today, Oisin Collins SC, for Mrs Kenny, said her action concerned a permission for an extension to the original development of student accommodation at Trinity Hall. Mrs Kenny lives directly across the road from the site, he said.
Ms Justice Niamh Hyland said she was satisfied the grounds of challenge met the substantial grounds threshold entitling the case to be dealt with in the court’s Strategic Infrastructure Development list.
That list deals with developments designated strategic infrastructure, with the effect the developer can seek a fast-track permission directly from An Bord Pleanala.
Mrs Kenny’s challenge is aimed at quashing a permission granted by the board last August to TCD for demolition of existing structures within the curtilage of Greenane House, a protected structure, and the construction of four apartments and 358 student accommodation bed spaces and associated site works at Cunningham House, Trinity Hall.
The board granted permission, subject to 21 conditions. It considered, provided those conditions were complied with, the proposed development would, inter alia, constitute an acceptable scale of development in this urban location, respect the existing character of the area and be acceptable in terms of urban design, height and quantum of development.
Mrs Kenny’s core claim is that the board, for the purposes of considering whether the development required an Environmental Impact Assessment, wrongly treated it as a standalone development rather than one linked to the existing accommodation at Trinity Hall.
Mr Collins said the proposed development is an extension to the original development of student accommodation at Trinity Hall. That earlier development was subject to an EIA and Mrs Kenny’s case was that this proposed development also required an EIA.
A board inspector had purported to carry out a screening which concluded an EIA was not required and that the environmental report submitted by TCD identified and adequately describes the environmental effects of the development, counsel outlined. Their case was the screening was not adequate and the board erred in law in agreeing with the inspector.
The inspector had also concluded an EIA was not necessary because the proposed development was for 358 student bed spaces, not 358 dwelling units. Mrs Kenny contends the inspector, and the board, erred in law in not assessing the development in relation to dwelling units.