Bat welfare cited in case against apartment development in north Dublin

ireland
Bat Welfare Cited In Case Against Apartment Development In North Dublin
A survey of the site identified that three species of bat use the site for foraging and commuting, while Stone Villa was identified as having the potential to house bat roosts. Photo: PA Images
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Ann O'Loughlin

A High Court challenge has been brought over a decision to allow a residential development at Dublin’s North Circular Road amid concerns about the effect on bats.

The application concerns An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission for 18 new apartments at the site of a protected structure known as Stone Villa, at Norther Circular Road, Dublin 7.

Last month the board gave Lilacstone Limited the green light to renovate Stone Villa, which is currently derelict, into three apartments, as well as permission to build a further new apartments units on the site.

Shadowmill Ltd, a company made up of local residents opposed to the development, has brought High Court judicial review proceedings seeking to have the board's decision quashed.

Represented by John Kenny Bl and solicitor Fred Logue, Shadowmill claims that the permission is flawed on several grounds.

Tree cover

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It is claimed that the proposed development will result in the loss of significant tree cover, as well as the renovation of Stone Villa itself.

A survey of the site identified that three species of bat use the site for foraging and commuting, while Stone Villa was identified as having the potential to house bat roosts.

Shadowmill claims that even though permission was granted the board did not have any information before it which would allow it to reach a conclusion compatible with its obligations under the EU Habitats Directive.

Bat roosts

The board has allowed the developer to remove a significant number of trees from the site, without any information as to how many of the trees are potential bat roosts, it is claimed.

The decision is therefore incompatible with to boards obligation to protect bats from deliberate disturbance, it is submitted.

Shadowmill also claims the decision is flawed because the developer did not submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report or conduct any screening of the site before granting permission as it is allegedly obliged to do.

EU directives

It further alleges that the decision is in material contravention of the 2016-22 Dublin City Development Plan and aspects of the 2001 Planning and Development Act.

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In its action Shadowmill also seeks declarations including that the board erred in its assessment of proposed development for the purposes of EU directives on Environmental Impact Assessments and Habitats, and that the decision to grant permission is invalid.

Both Lilacstone and Dublin City Council are notice parties to the proposed challenge.

The matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday, who directed that the application for permission to bring the challenge be made on notice to the board.

The matter will return before the court in April.

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