A local community group has taken a High Court challenge aimed at overturning permission for a strategic housing development of 142 residential units on the outskirts of Clane, Co Kildare.
Clane Community Council (CCC) says it is not opposed to development on the site, located on the western side of Millicent Road and southern side of Prosperous Road, but claims the proposed development represents “significant over-development” of the town.
The permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála to Debussy Properties Ltd in material contravention of the core strategy for Co Kildare, was in excess of the board’s powers and breached the relevant law, it claims.
On Monday, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys granted leave to CCC, represented by Stephen Dodd SC and John Kenny BL, instructed by F.P Logue Solicitors, to bring the judicial review proceedings.
The judge granted a stay, pending further order, restraining the carrying out of works on foot of the permission.
In its challenge, CCC claims the board acted in breach of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 in granting the Millicent permission on April 22nd last.
Under the 2016 Act, developers can seek planning approval directly from the board, bypassing the local authority, for developments designated strategic housing.
The board breached section 9 of the 2016 Act in granting permission in material contravention of the settlement policy and housing allocation for Clane in the Kildare County Development Plan 2017-2023, the group claims.
The board failed to have regard to the fact it had granted permission just days earlier, on April 13th 2021, for 333 housing units at Capdoo and Abbeylands in Clane, it claims. That latter permission “entirely exhausted” the remaining 145 residential unit target for Clane under the county development plan for the remainder of the plan period to 2023, it says.
This housing allocation was specifically introduced, as recorded by the board’s inspector, for the purposes of aligning with the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy and the National Planning Framework, the group claims.
The inspector recommended, if the board granted permission for the 333 units at Capdoo and Abbeylands before deciding the Millicent application, then permission should be refused for the Millicent development because it would not comply with the settlement strategy for Co Kildare, the group says.
Subject to that proviso, the inspector recommended permission be granted, subject to 25 conditions, for the Millicent development.
The board had proceeded to grant permission for the Millicent development on 25 conditions, made no reference to the earlier permission for Capdoo/Abbeylands and gave no reasons why it disagreed with the inspector’s recommendation that permission for Millicent be refused if permission for the other developments had been granted, the group claims.
It also contends the board acted in excess of its powers in granting permission for 142 units on foot of a planning application for 192 units when the relevant public notices did not include a statement the Millicent development was in material contravention of the settlement policy and housing allocation for Clane in the development plan.
Other grounds of challenge include that the permission is invalid under EU law because the board failed to submit a statement, for the purposes of environmental impact screening, as required under the terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and/or the applicable regulations.