Planning authority indicates it got decision to grant permission for major Drogheda housing development wrong


Aodhan O Faolain


Aodhan O Faolain


at the High Court

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The case was heard at the High Court in Dublin

An Bord Pleanála has indicated that planning permission for a development that includes 450 housing units in Drogheda ought not to have been granted, the High Court has heard.

The proposed development, earmarked for a site south of the Marsh Road to the east of Drogheda Town Centre is the subject of a High Court challenge brought by the Environmental group Protect East Meath Ltd.

An Bord Pleanála granted the developer of the proposed project Ravala Ltd planning permission to construct the dwelling units, offices and a creche in November 2019. 

The planning application was made directly by the developer to An Bord Pleanála under a fast-track process for large housing projects, bypassing the local authority.

Represented by John Kenny Bl., instructed by solicitor Fred Logue Protect East Meath brought judicial review proceedings seeking to quash An Bord Pleanála's decision to give the proposed development the green light.

It claimed that the board's decision was flawed on grounds including that there were failures by the board to properly take into account the impact the proposed development would have on the Boyne Estuary Special Area of Conservation, and on various species of birds and bats.

Protect Meath East, which was set up to ensure that any future development in the East Meath area only takes place with strong environmental protections, also sought various declarations.

These including declarations that the board erred in law by granting permission and that the decision breached the EU directives on Habitats and on Environmental Impact Assessments.

The challenge was admitted the case to the High Court's fast-track strategic infrastructure development list.

When the matter came before Mr Justice Denis McDonald said it now appeared that the board is prepared to concede the case, meaning that the developer will have to make a fresh application for planning permission.

It is claimed that an assessment carried out on the Boyne Estuary SPA was not done correctly due to a lack of surveys on the local bird population.

However the court said that Ravala Limited, which is a notice party to the environmental group's action, has indicated that may try to continue the proceedings, and defend the board's decision.

In light of that Mr Justice McDonald directed Ravala to make submissions to the court setting out how it proposes to do this, given the board's indication regarding its decision.

The case was adjourned to a date in May.