A major builder is suing planning officials over a 650-home Wicklow development

An Bord Pleanála rejected Cosgrave Property Group’s large-scale housing plan last year.

By Killian Woods Reporter, Fora

ONE OF IRELAND’S biggest developers is bringing the national planning body to the High Court in a bid to get its plans for a massive Wicklow housing project back on track.

The legal case, initiated by the Cosgrave Property Group, is in relation to a 650-home development near the Fassaroe and Monastery area of Wicklow.

The property firm first applied two years ago to build the project, which would include 390 apartments and 268 houses and a ‘neighbourhood centre’ made up of a convenience store, six retail units, a crèche, a park and a new pedestrian and cycle bridge.

Cosgrave Property Group secured planning permission from Wicklow council in the middle of last year, but several complainants appealed this decision to An Bord Pleanála.

At the end of 2017, An Bord Pleanála overturned the decision by the local council and refused the Cosgrave Property Group planning permission.

According to court documents filed today, the property firm has appealed for a High Court judicial review of the decision by the national planning body.

3485336 A map of the Fassaroe development
Source: Wicklow County Council

Click here to view a larger version.

Complaints

When it approved the project, Wicklow council said the development was in line with its masterplan to build up to 1,800 extra housing units in the northern half of the county.

However, the Bray Clay Pigeon Club and several other residents living near the development site voiced concerns about the project.

The club, which has 50 full-time members, said it has rented land in the Fassaroe area for four decades and claimed the Cosgrave group’s project would be “detrimental” to the organisation.

In its submission, it noted the organisation has “thrived” in the area due to the lack of housing. If Cosgrave’s development got the all-clear, the club said, new residents would likely object to the club’s noisy practice ground.

When it announced its ruling, An Bord Pleanála gave several reasons for its decision to overturn the previous planning permission.

It said the scale of the retail aspect of the development would be “significantly in excess of the needs of the proposed local residents” and could have a negative impact on the established retail trade in nearby town centres like Bray.

An Bord Pleanála also highlighted that the housing project would not be sufficiently serviced by public transport and, as a result, the number of cars in the area would likely increase significantly.

The decision to reject the project comes at a time when Ireland is plagued by a chronic shortage of housing – an issue that could persist for the next 10 years.

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