Stormy waters in Donabate-Portrane as DPCC take judicial review

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

The villages of Donabate and Portrane and are set to see yet another judicial review undertaken regarding local development as the Donabate-Portrane Community Council (DPCC) is heading yet again to the High Court.

This time, it’s the approval of 432 homes by An Bord Pleanála to Fingal County Council, to be built by Glenveagh Living Ltd that the local community council intend to fight. This is a development on council owned lands which includes, social, affordable and private housing.

The DPCC announced their intention to seek a judicial review following ABP’s decision to uphold the planning permission granted for the Donabate development.  Last week, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys approved the DPCC’s application for a judicial review.

However, it’s clear from social media responses that this is not a widely supported route the DPCC have chosen. Among those critical of the community council’s stance is local Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF) who previously supported the judicial review against massive development at Corballis East.

However, the planning permission currently debated entails 213 houses, 93 apartments and 126 duplexes at Ballymastone in Donabate, where there is also commitment to a €1m sport hub investment.

“All of this will now be stalled,” Cllr Henchy told the Dublin Gazette. “It’s ludicrous. I feel this is a short-sighted move by the DPCC – the proposal by FCC for the Glenveagh development underwent massive scrutiny by FCC planners and councillors and was widely supported by the communities of Portane and Donabate.”

Local resident and journalist Charlie Weston has vociferously fought over-development in the small coastal communities but on the DPCC’s FB page, he questioned: “What is the community council at taking a judicial review to the Ballymastone housing development? Is there a community mandate to do that?”

He continued: “The community got buy-in on the proportion of social and affordable housing on the site when it was being designed when I chaired the Community Council. If the review scuppers the planning permission, Fingal County Council will move to put social-only housing on the site. It’s bonkers and counterproductive to challenge this!”

In response, David Fletcher, Chair of the DPCC stated: “The Community Council sought legal advice and expert opinion on this which, in the unanimous view of the officers, merited the decision taken – which wasn’t done lightly.

“The community has given us terrific support which we fully appreciate, and no doubt they will continue to do so when we explain the true position then. We are NOT anti-housing and certainly NOT opposed to social housing.”

The DPCC is taking the judicial review on the grounds that the recommended population growth for the peninsula communities will be exceeded.

Donabate, claims the DPCC, has circa 7,400 residents. Within the relative county development plan, it is deemed that a 10 per cent population increase is appropriate. However, with over 1300 housing units already approved at Corballis, the 432 houses approved at Ballymastone will vastly exceed the recommended increase/local requirements.

Cllr Henchy added: “I make no apology for previously giving my full support to the DPCC in their Judicial Review of the other major development that was granted for Donabate (the SHD at Corballis East lands). In my opinion, this has too many deficits and the developer needs to go back to the drawing board but to now also take a judicial review for Ballymastone is not justified and could result in serious consideration given the current housing crisis.

“I know from the extensive local housing list there are so many local individuals and families who were eagerly awaiting the Ballymastone scheme to finally get underway. They are years waiting to get an opportunity to purchase an affordable home in Donabate, hoping not have to move away from their local community and family network.”

He concluded: “The application for Ballymastone was the result of rigorous scrutiny within FCC and the decision to grant permission was also scrutinised in detail by the Bord which upheld the grant. Furthermore, the scheme received cross-party political support within the council, and all five elected councillors representing Rush-Lusk LEA which includes Donabate fully support this scheme.”

Last week, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys gave permission for the DPCC to pursue a judicial review of ABP’s decision, and the case was adjourned until next month.

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