Court challenge to demolition of Georgian houses for office block

Developer has approval for the six-storey development in Dublin

A High Court case has been brought challenging permission for the demolition of two Georgian houses in Dublin city centre for the construction of an office block.

The developer has approval for the six-storey development at 94 and 95 Mount Street Lower, a road largely populated by office blocks. The buildings to be demolished house a vegetable shop but are otherwise unoccupied.

Palatine DAC, the management company of a neighbouring apartment building, was given court permission to pursue its challenge against An Bord Pleanála and, as its case contains claims certain Irish legislation contravenes EU laws, the Attorney General and Ireland.

The applicant wants the planning permission for the six-storey build to be voided.


This week, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys made an order for the claims against the State parties to be heard separately from the claims that relate specifically to An Bord Pleanála.

Permission granted last September to Mount Way Offices Limited, a notice party in this case, came on appeal from a refusal by Dublin City Council.

The council had concluded the proposed development would constitute a “visually discordant feature in the landscape and impact adversely on the residential amenities of nearby properties in terms of overlooking and overshadowing”.

As a consequence, the authority said, it would cause the value of property in the vicinity to depreciate and set a precedent for similar types of “undesirable development”.

An Bord Pleanála’s decision went against a recommendation by its own planning inspector to refuse permission. Inspector Jane Dennehy said the Georgian buildings appear to be sound and worthy of retention.

Although not subject to statutory protection, the buildings are among the last surviving Georgian buildings in the vicinity in that they were not replaced with commercial development in the late 20th century, she added.

In its High Court proceedings, Palatine, through its lawyers Stephen Dodd SC, John Kenny and FP Logue solicitors, claims the grant of permission is invalid as the development plan changed after the council’s refusal and so the purported appeal was not, in fact, an appeal but a revised application.

The new drawings reduced the original design from eight storeys to six, the applicant says.

Also among Palatine’s claims is an allegation the board incorrectly relied on a specific requirement relating to urban building height guidelines. The applicant alleges the board incorrectly concluded the proposed development is consistent with the Dublin City Development Plan.

Against the State, Palatine alleges sections of the Planning and Development Act of 2000 contravene the EU’s Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive. It also says planning regulations made in 2001 are invalid and an improper transposition of another EU directive.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter