A High Court judge has rejected a request to set aside his earlier decision allowing several Killiney residents to challenge the granting of planning permission for 255 residential units near their south Dublin homes.
Residents have been granted permission to initiate judicial review proceedings against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to license units off Church Road in Killiney.
Permission has been granted by the board for the strategic infrastructure housing development to Atlas GP Limited, a subsidiary of Pat Crean’s Marlet property group.
The action of the local residents, against the management and the State, aims to have the decision to authorize the development project annulled.
They claim the development does not meet the public space requirements dictated by the local development plan and that the council acted outside of its powers in granting permission.
They also claim that the council relied on “inadequate” environmental screening studies and that the decision to grant the permit breached the European Union’s directive on environmental impact assessment and Habitats Directive.
Atlas is notified party to their action.
In pre-trial motions, Atlas requested that Judge David Holland’s decision last December to allow the residents to quash their challenge.
The request was made on grounds such as the insincerity of some of the grounds they had raised in their challenge to the decision.
Residents, represented by Stephen Dodd SC, mandated by Eoin Brady of FP Logue Solicitors, opposed the motions,
In his judgment dismissing the motion, Judge Holland said the petitioners did not need to show that they were personally affected by each of the grounds on which they relied.
He said that once they have demonstrated their quality in the general sense and their prior participation, their quality “is not delegitimized by reference to their subjective attitude towards – how much they really, really care subjectively” – specific grounds in support of their claims.
He said that while their case might ultimately fail, that did not render them “illegitimate in the sense that Atlas claims, such that the clearance should be revoked in whole or in part.”
The judge also denied another motion by Atlas to prevent the plaintiffs from changing the grounds of their challenge.
In its judgment, the court also noted that Atlas had initiated a separate proceeding seeking an injunction restraining any measure in the judicial review intended to prevent a disinterested party from becoming involved in litigation.
The residents’ application for judicial review is against An Bord Pleanála, Ireland and the Attorney General, while Atlas is a notified party.
Among the applicants’ main grounds of challenge is an allegation that the development does not meet the public space requirements dictated by the local development plan and the council acted beyond its authority in granting permission without considering whether such a contravention could be justified.
The planning application was allegedly based on ‘inadequate’ environmental studies and the fact that the correct legal test in relation to bat fauna was not applied as required by the EU’s Environmental Protection Directive. environmental impact assessment and the habitats directive, it is further argued.
Atlas has initiated a separate proceeding seeking an injunction restraining any step of judicial review intended to prevent a disinterested party from becoming involved in litigation.
Atlas claims that the judicial review challenge is funded by third parties with no legitimate interest in the proceedings.
Residents want the action, which they call an “abuse of process,” overturned.
Atlas has also filed suit for damages and other orders against the eight residents for alleged defamation of the business in a leaflet, published by “Watson Killiney Residents Association” soliciting contributions from local people to help raise 60 000 € for the legal costs of the judicial review.
The society claims that the residents are the authors, or are related to the authors and/or are responsible for the publication and distribution of the pamphlet, which it claims contains false and inaccurate statements about Atlas.
Atlas also sued two of the residents claiming that a November 2000 covenant prevents those two people from contesting permission.
In his decision, the judge noted that the residents claim that these proceedings constitute SLAPP litigation, which is a strategic lawsuit against public participation, where lawsuits are filed in order to silence critics until they drop. their complaints.
Atlas, he says, denies this.
However, the judge said he could not, based on the evidence before him, determine whether Atlas was engaging in SLAPP litigation or whether the motions ruled in the judgment were part of a SLAPP litigation campaign. by Atlas.