A High Court judge has ruled a local objector is out of time to bring a legal challenge aimed at overturning permission for a development of 324 apartments at Santry, Co Dublin.
The proposed development is for apartment blocks, ranging in height from five to 12 storeys, on lands north-east of the Omni Park Shopping Centre. The development also includes an 81-bedroom aparthotel.
Steven O’Riordan, representing himself, wanted a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s September 2020 permission for the proposed development by MKN Investments Ltd and Caltrack Ltd, trading as Omni Park Shopping Centre Consortium. Because the board designated the proposed development as a strategic housing one, the developer could avail of fast-track procedures and seek permission directly from the board.
Mr O’Riordan, who was among several local objectors to the development, had on September 7th 2020 received a letter dated September 4th2020 informing him of the Board’s decision and that he had eight weeks to bring a judicial review application.
He contacted the Courts Service on October 30thseeking to lodge papers and filed a statement of grounds on November 2nd. Following a High Court listing on November 16th, his application was ultimately transferred to the court’s Strategic Infrastructure Development List, managed by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys.
Mr Justice Humphreys directed that the application for leave for judicial review, and an application for extension of time to bring the proceedings, should be heard on notice to the board and the developers.
The judge ultimately refused to extend time for the bringing of the challenges and, in a judgment published this week, gave his reasons why.
He said the time for seeking judicial review expired on October 28th 2020 and the extension application centred on whether the failure to bring the leave application on time arose from factors outside the control of Mr O’Riordan.
The judge held, in the absence of a ministerial order to that effect, time was not extended by virtue of the Covid-19 emergency.
He also found that ignorance of the law, the fact Mr O’Riordan is a lay litigant or that the eight-week period for seeking leave included a bank holiday were not bases for an extension of time. The shortness of the delay in seeking leave in this case was also not relevant, he found.
On foot of those findings, he refused to extend time to bring the judicial review proceedings and dismissed the application for judicial review as out of time.