Residents challenge permission for 200 homes in Blackrock 

South Dublin homeowners takes objections to Cairn plan for Cross Avenue to High Court 
 
A residents’ group has brought a High Court challenge to a Bord Pleanála decision to grant planning permission for more than 200 homes in Blackrock, Co Dublin. 
Southwood Park Residents Association is challenging the board’s permission last February for the Cairn Homes development on 7.9 acres on the grounds of Chesterfield House, a protected structure, on Cross Avenue. 
 
They claim, among other things, the board erred in its decision and failed to meet requirements under EU environmental impact and habitat directives. 
 
As the planning application was dealt with under fast-track strategic planning legislation, allowing builders to bypass the normal local authority planning process, the only way to challenge it was by way of judicial review. 
 
The High Court has set up its own fast-track division for dealing with such strategic infrastructure cases. 
 
When the matter came before Mr Justice David Barniville on Thursday, he said he hoped to have a judge available in July to hear the case. It was important these cases be heard as early as possible and he would endeavour to secure a July hearing despite the pressure on court lists, he said. 
 
Cairn Homes, which along with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Council is a notice party in the case, received permission to demolish the non-original elements of Chesterfield House. 
 
The existing Chesterfield House is a 1970s reconstruction that was built around the drawing room of the original early 19th-century structure. The house is now unoccupied. 
 
The original drawing room is to be retained within a reconstructed Chesterfield House containing three new apartments. 
 
The remainder of the development will comprise 214 apartments in mainly two- to four-storey blocks along with seven two-storey houses. 
 
There will be 325 car spaces and 274 bicycle parking spaces in the development which is less than a kilometre from Booterstown Dart station. 
 
Cairn acquired Chesterfield House when it and US investor Lone Star bought a group of boom-era property loans, dubbed Project Clear, from Ulster Bank in 2015 for €503 million. 
 
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The building company paid €378 million for its share of the loans. The deal gave it ownership of the properties against which the loans were secured, including Chesterfield House. 
 
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