A High Court challenge to 200 'cheap, unsuitable' homes for Howth has been thrown out

The judge said it was “a beautiful corner of Dublin” – but he rejected the local teacher’s case.

By Aodhan O'Faolain

THE HIGH COURT has dismissed a challenge against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to give the go ahead for a large-scale development in Howth that includes nearly 200 residential units.

The action against the proposed development in north County Dublin and valued at more than €22 million was brought by local teacher Christian Morris, who represented himself in the proceedings.

In a written judgment, Justice Max Barrett dismissed Morris’s action after finding against him on all the points raised.

His action was against An Bord Pleanála arising out of its decision of 20 June upholding Fingal County Council’s decision to allow Glenkerrin Homes develop a 4.4 hectare plot known as the Techrete site, Teeling Motor Company site and Baltray Park site on the Howth Road.

The decision will result in the demolition of existing industrial and commercial structures, which will be replaced by 145 apartments, 51 houses, six commercial units and a community/sports hall.

The proposed development also included a public park and public plaza, and cycle and pedestrian paths.

In judicial review proceedings, Morris sought to have both the board’s and the council’s decisions quashed on grounds including that the area will be swamped with cheap housing that is unsuitable for Howth and would also result in traffic congestion.

Morris from Claremont Road, Howth, also claimed that as part of the proposed development the council will sell a public park to a private developer. That amenity he claims will not be replaced.

He had also sought an injunction requiring Glenkerrin Homes and its receivers to clean up part of the lands and demolish certain properties on the site.

Glenkerrin Homes, which is in receivership since 2011, opposed Morris’s application.

Fingal council was one of several notice parties to the judicial review action. Others include Deerpark and Claremont Residents Group, senator Aodhan O Riordan, former senator Averil Power and several local residents who objected to the development.

‘A beautiful corner’

In his decision, Justice Barrett said Howth is “a beautiful corner of Dublin” and added it is “perhaps inevitable that a significant building development in the area would excite both interest and perhaps even some level of concern among existing local residents such as Mr Morris.”

But Justice Barrett said Morris had brought his action outside of the strict time limits allowed to challenge a planning decision.

It was the court’s conclusion that Morris was out of time to pursue the grounds of complaint he had made. He had failed to make a full case before the High Court within the eight-week period allowed.

In regards to the injunction, Morris failed at the first hurdle as he did not have any legal interest which would give him standing to seek that order.

The judge concluded by saying that as a matter of law he found Morris’s judicial review and his application for an injunction must fail.

Morris had tried unsuccessfully to have the High Court proceedings televised, arguing the case was of national interest.

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