Permission for 614 residential units on RTÉ lands overturned on consent by High Court

Permission for 614 residential units on RTÉ lands overturned on consent by High Court

The proposed apartment plan by Cairn Homes for the former RTÉ lands in Montrose. 

An Bord Pleanála has consented to a High Court order quashing its permission for 614 residential units on former RTÉ lands.

Three Ailesbury Road residents had brought proceedings challenging the board’s fast-track permission for the proposed development by Cairn Homes Properties close to their homes.

They also challenged the constitutionality of strategic housing provisions of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 providing for the fast-tracking of large housing developments.

After the board indicated in January it was prepared to make concessions in the proceedings, a hearing date fixed later this year for the challenge was vacated.

Following considerable engagement between the sides, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys was asked on Thursday to make orders on consent.

Those include an order quashing the board’s permission.

The orders also provide for the proceedings over the constitutionality of provisions of the Act to be adjourned generally.

In July last year, the High Court granted leave to the residents — Chris Comerford, Pat Desmond, and John Gleeson — to challenge the board's decision to deal, under the 2016 Act, with the permission application by Cairn Homes Properties Ltd.

Represented by Michael O'Donnell BL and Conor Quinn BL, instructed by solicitor Nap Keeling, their case was against the board, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Ireland and the Attorney General with Dublin City Council and Cairn Homes as notice parties.

The 2016 Act allows developers seeking permission for developments exceeding 100 units to apply directly to the board for permission, bypassing the local housing authority.

When the case was initially taken, the board had agreed to consider the application for permission under the Act but had not yet decided it.

Constitutional rights 

The residents' case included claims some of the strategic housing provisions of the 2016 Act breached their rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.

When the board subsequently granted permission, the High Court directed the challenge to the permission be merged with the earlier challenge.

The residents claimed in their action that immediately adjoining the rear wall of Mr Desmond's family home, and located "extremely close" to the family homes of the other two, is a property which previously formed part of the RTÉ campus in respect of which Cairn Homes wanted to develop 614 residential units.

The proposed development comprises 611 apartments in nine blocks up to 10 storeys high, three townhouses, two cafes, one childcare facility, and change of use of an existing Regency villa to a private members club and gym.

The applicants said the development is of a scale and density far in excess of what is permitted under the Dublin City Development Plan, would overlook and overshadow their homes and be "totally out of keeping" with an area consisting of low rise Victorian or Edwardian type houses.

The development would impact not just on the applicants' properties, which include protected structures, but on other protected structures and important public buildings in the area, including Montrose House, Mount Errol House, and the important 1960s Scott Talon Walker Building housing the existing RTÉ studios, it was claimed.

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