Limerick residents may seek judicial review over contentious social housing plan

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon: Residents may take judicial review

Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon: Residents may take judicial review

FURIOUS Limerick city residents may seek a judicial review after plans to build 17 social housing units were approved.

Despite over 60 objections, An Bord Pleanala gave the green light to proposals to build 17 new homes in the corner of the Drominbeg Estate in Rhebogue.

Silvergrove Developments are planning the social housing project, mainly two storey, three-bedroom units, on the last green space in the estate.

Now, having seen council planners and the national appeals body reject their objections, residents may take their case to the High Court, local councillor Kieran O’Hanlon has said.

“I think the whole process has been totally undemocratic. It ignored the councillors, it ignored the residents and, outside of that, I feel it’s bad planning in my opinion.

“We’re talking about social segregation, not social inclusion here,” he added.

There have been widespread objections to the social housing, with residents fearing an increase in anti-social behaviour and the assertion Rhebogue already has a quota of these houses. There are also fears of a potential drop in home values.

Among the groups to object to the proposals were the Drominbeg Residents Association and the Rhebogue Meadows Residents Association, as well as scores of couples and individuals.

One resident, Gearoid Murphy, raised concerns relating to a One resident, Gearoid Murphy, raised concerns relating to a lack of community facilities and amenities in the area, the removal of a space suitable for a community facility, the development as a social housing scheme and the character of the development, documents supplied by An Bord Pleanala reveal.

“Drominbeg Management Committee raises concerns relating to future intentions relating to the site, social housing, density, design, a lack of front gardens, lack of educatio provision, traffic congestion, flooding, loss of privacy and visual intrusion and a lack of basic amenities,” the appeals body added.

Silvergrove Developments itself appealed a condition imposed by Limerick City and County Council relating to an initial reduction of its plan from 20 down to 17. The board’s verdict on this appeal was not made clear, despite the An Bord Pleanala inspector stating there is “no merit” on omitting three units.

A decision was made to grant the controversial proposal, with An Bord Pleanala saying it “would not adversely impact on the residential amenities of adjoining properties”.

They added they felt it would be acceptable in terms of visual impact, would not provide traffic hazard, and would “adequately provide for open space requirements of its occupants.”

“The proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” they added.

Fourteen conditions were put in place, including a stipulation that building work can only take place up to 7pm on weekdays, 2pm on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays and public holidays.

Residents are expected to meet in the coming days.