Update on Bullock Harbour Planning application, decision by An Bord Pleanala and Judicial Review

Below we have set out (1) a reminder of the events leading to Bullock Harbour Preservation Association’s application for a Judicial Review of the An Bord Pleanala decision to grant planning permission.  (2) We then explain what happened with the Judicial Review sought by Bullock Harbour Preservation Association (BHPA) . (3) We conclude with suggestions on how to respond to recent correspondence from An Bord Pleanala (ABP).

  • December 2017:  Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd apply to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council for planning permission to develop the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour.  This is their second planning application for the site.
  • Some hundreds of “observations” are lodged with the county council objecting to the developer’s plans.
  • February 2018: Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council refuses planning permission
  • March 2018:   Bartra appeals the DLR decision to An Bord Pleanala
  • April 2018:  67 observations are made to An Bord Pleanala – including many by local residents and harbour users
  • An Bord Pleanala appoint an inspector to report on the appeal.
  • Around  June 2019, An Bord Pleanala’s inspector recommends upholding DLR’s refusal to grant planning permission
  • June 2019, the board of An Bord Pleanala, against the recommendation of their inspector, grants planning permission to Bartra.
  • August 2019, Bullock Harbour Preservation Association applies to the High Court for a judicial review of the ABP decision.  In this application our legal team, Fred Logue solicitor and John Kenny BL provide a “statement of grounds” which sets out the multiple reasons or grounds for requesting the judicial review.
  • October 2019, the High Court gives BHPA leave to pursue the judicial review
  • In July 2020 after various routine adjournments and after delays owing to the Covid pandemic, ABP through their solicitors stated that they would not defend the case in court and therefore the High Court quashed APB’s decision to grant planning permission.

We subsequently learnt that An Bord Pleanala’s conceded only on “Ground 3” which relates to deficiencies in the planning application relating to the Habitats directive and sections of the Planning and Development Act.  Please note this concession means that the Judicial Review did not actually proceed.  And also note that An Bord Pleanala did not concede other very important aspects of our case, for example the evidence of the vulnerability of the site to flooding and wave-overtopping.  The concession by ABP means that the High Court now requires ABP to reconsider their decision.  ABP has therefore re-opened the case with a new reference: ABP-308243-20.  As due process they have written to those who made an observation to ABP in April 2018. 

We set out below guidance on responding to An Bord Pleanala. The ABP website with inspector’s report and other salient documents is here. Various different scenarios could now ensue as a result of An Bord Pleanala being required to re-consider their decision and it would be unwise to speculate on a likely outcome.

An Bord Pleanala has written to those who lodged observations with them in April 2018 on the Bartra appeal.  If (and only if) you made such an observation and have received a letter from An Bord Pleanala inviting comment (and by 17 December) you could usefully include the following in your reply:

  1. The new reference number: ABP-308243-20.
  2. Request the board to require the developer Bartra to provide updated information in regard to the Environmental and Habitats Directives to enable the Board to make a new assessment.
  3. Ask the Board to reconsider the other grounds of the judicial review.
  4. Ask to be allowed to see and comment on any further information that the developer sends to the Board.

Please let us know if you write in to An Bord Pleanala – you can drop us a line at savebulloch@gmail.com

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