Conditions imposed on a plan to build 164 homes on the site of a disused hotel already tackle concerns raised by locals in a court challenge to the project, the developer behind the scheme has said.
Locals in Howth, Dublin, want a High Court judge to review An Bord Pleanála's decision to grant developer Marlet permission to build 164 dwellings on the old Bailey Court Hotel site in the village.
The company said at the weekend that a campaign against this project and others, involving Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, was preventing the construction of homes on sites legitimately zoned for residential use.
Conditions imposed by An Bord Pleanála on the Bailey Court project show Marlet must agree plans with Fingal County Council to deal with a risk of subsidence and the excavation and removal of material from the site before the company starts building.
Balscadden Road Residents’ Association sought a judicial review of the plan late last year and the issue is due before the High Court in April. They fear the impact of truck movements in the area to shift material from the site to allow construction to begin.
A spokeswoman for the group pointed out at the weekend that locals also argue there was not a detailed study of the development’s potential impact on the environment. “Those issues have not been addressed,” she said.
Exchange of emails
An Bord Pleanála’s permission shows that Marlet must comply with conditions set out in a geotechnical survey of the site and must agree this with the council. The board states that this is to protect properties adjoining the site.
Similarly, the company must agree detailed demolition, excavation and traffic movement plans in writing with Fingal before it can begin building.
An exchange of emails shows that Marlet chief executive Patrick Crean asked to meet Mr Ó Ríordáin, who has been leading opposition to the plans, and locals before the court proceedings were lodged, but received no response.
Mr Ó Ríordáin says that he does not meet developers.
“I believe it’s bad practice given recent political history,” he said at the weekend. The Senator added that he advised constituents to do the same.
A Marlet statement said Mr Ó Ríordáin’s recent remarks that developers are only interested in making money avoid the real question: why [objectors] block building of homes on land zoned for residential use during a housing crisis.
“This appears to be part of a self-serving election campaign, but it has real consequences for real people,” a spokesman said. “It is preventing many homes from being built and is preventing the handing-over of 54 social homes to Dublin City Council from one development alone.”
“People are literally sleeping in parks beside vacant sites that remain unbuilt while expensive legal challenges are being played out.”
Marlet asked how it was possible for Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to increase the pace of house building while Oireachtas colleagues worked to delay properly zoned and approved housing developments.