Howth resident loses legal bid against 512 apartments

by Gazette Reporter

A Howth resident has lost his High Court challenge aimed at overturning permission for a development of more than 500 apartments.

Christian Morris of Claremont Road, Howth, had challenged An Bord Pleanála’s grant of permission last April for construction of 512 apartments, two shops, a café and a restaurant on a prime site.

The land at the former Techrete manufacturing facility, former Beshoff’s car showroom and former Howth garden centre, on Howth Road, lies vacant.

The proposed build has been classified as a strategic housing development, meaning a developer bypasses the council to seek permission directly from the board.

Ms Justice Niamh Hyland dismissed all grounds of Mr Morris’ challenge. She also noted the development was subject to 85 objections to the board and stressed her decision did not concern the merits or desirability of the scheme.

An Bord Pleanála is the body entrusted with expert assessment of such planning applications and her role was limited to considering whether the board had complied with the law in how it decided to grant permission, she said.

She dismissed claims by Mr Morris, who represented himself, including that the proposed development was not consistent with the zoning of the site.

Mr Morris also failed to raise an identifiable issue in respect of an alleged failure by the board to have regard to the submissions made by objectors, including over the height – up to eight storeys – she found.

She also rejected Mr Morris’s concerns over flood risk assessment and having regard to the Howth urban centre strategy.

Having rejected all arguments, she concluded Mr Morris was not entitled to any of the orders and declarations sought.

In 2017 Mr Morris, a teacher, took a High Court case to challenge An Bord Pleanala’s decision to grant permission for 200 residential units on the same site. He lost the case.

In 2018 he lost a €75,000 damages claim for defamation against a McDonald’s restaurant. At the time it emerged that he had previously sued a woman with Multiple Sclerosis for defamation following a parking incident in Sutton.

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