Five challenges to Meath development plan in Commercial Court
Three other challenges to County Meath’s development plan have been admitted to the High Court’s fast-track commercial division.
It brings to five the number of challenges to the plan that was adopted by the council last September.
Two of the last three challenges are launched by commercial companies and the third by an environmental group.
On Monday, Judge Denis McDonald admitted the three cases to the commercial court and transferred them to the court dealing with business planning and strategic infrastructure development matters. The application was brought by Jarlath Fitzsimons SC, on behalf of counsel, and with the consent of the three plaintiffs.
In the first challenge, Dolent Properties LLP, Laurel Walk, Bandon, Co Cork, which develops properties including care homes, is seeking to reverse a decision to rezone land it owns in Hunters Lane, Dunreagh, Ashbourne, Co Meath.
The previous zoning of the land allowed for community, social and educational facilities while the new zoning provides for the improvement of open spaces for active and passive recreational facilities.
Dolent says the decision is invalid on the grounds that council acted irrationally in setting a zoning target of improving open space on private land when there is no legal basis for it.
He also claims that council failed to adequately consider the submissions he made regarding Dolent’s position regarding the real risk of flooding on the land.
The rezoning, which Dolent said would not allow a retirement home, does not meet departmental planning guidelines for flood risk, he says.
The second challenge is launched by Hickwell Ltd and Hickcastle Ltd, with registered addresses in Bracetown, Business Park, Clonee, and who own and operate The Hub Logistics Park, near Kilbride Road in Clonee, next to the affected land.
Hickwell/Hickcastle say future development has been affected by council’s decision to provide a road that crosses these lands in Bracetown/Gunnocks and in circumstances where development has already been partially implemented.
The companies want the court to overturn the decision to rezone the land for the road as well as claims that the decision was a violation of its constitutional property rights.
The third challenge comes from Protect East Meath Ltd, an environmental non-profit organization, which claims that a change to a previous residential zoning of land in the southern vicinity of Drogheda, part of which is Co Meath, should be reversed. .
The change, says Protect East Meath, was not in line with the regional spatial strategy which requires land prioritization or de-zoning to deal with excess zoned land for the duration of the development plan.
It is also alleged, among other things, that the decision was invalid due to a failure to act in accordance with the national planning framework.
One of two other challenges previously admitted to the business list is that of Killegland Estates over the council’s decision to rezone a small area of land it owns in Ashbourne from new residential infrastructure to community infrastructure.
The fifth challenge was issued by McGarrell Reilly Homes and Alcove Eight Ltd to change land zoning in Kilcock and Stamullen.
In its applications for admission of the cases to the commercial list, counsel said the five sets of proceedings raise many similar grounds.
It was necessary to deal with them collectively for reasons such as the fact that if different decisions were made on the individual challenges, it would lead to considerable uncertainty when it came to implementing the policies and objectives of the plan. development, he said.