No scientific case exists for refusal of apartments planned for Raheny, developers say

Concerns over geese cited as reason for not giving go-ahead at site near St Anne’s Park

The sole reason to refuse planning permission for a 580-unit apartment scheme for a site near St Anne’s Park in Raheny, Dublin, over concerns for the light-bellied Brent Goose is not supported by any scientific evidence, according to its developers.

The assertion is contained in appeal documents lodged by Patrick Crean’s Marlet Group which is contesting Dublin City Council’s refusal of the scheme before An Bord Pleanála.

The planning consultants for Marlet, Brady Shipman Martin, contend that the single reason for refusal over the Brent Goose for the scheme on lands to the east of St Paul’s College at Sybil Hill, Raheny, Dublin 5, “does not hold up”.

The planning appeal said the lack of scientific evidence presented in the council’s parks report “to undermine the robust scientific evidence” presented in the applicant’s report on the Brent Goose and other ecological issues “is of great concern” as the conclusions of the report in relation to the goose formed the single reason for refusal.


Population data

The consultants said that the applicant’s Natura Impact Statement (NIS) report which shows that the proposed development will not have significant impact on the goose is based on the best scientific evidence available including six years of survey data and the most recent population data showing both national and international trends.

The appeal said that An Bord Pleanála would be aware that planning permission had been granted on this site on a number of occasions, most recently in February 2020, only to be overturned at judicial review.

The documents note the location “is an important site in the provision of high-quality residential development in an established and accessible part of Dublin city”.

A companion submission on behalf of Marlet by Enviroguide Consulting, which drafted the NIS, contends it appears the council “is simply unwilling to accept the evidence put in front of them” concerning the goose.

Enviroguide Consulting further contends that much of the council criticism of the applicant’s report on the Brent Goose “is based on speculation or conjecture on the part of the authors and does not form a sound basis for any scientific assessment”.

The move by the Marlet Group to appeal is the latest development in the long-running planning saga for the site since it was purchased by Patrick Crean in 2015.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times