Wednesday 19 November 2008

Docklands dispute over DDDA awarding of 'covert' contract settled

THE SPENCER Dock Development Company has settled its court proceedings in which it alleged there was a “covert contract” between the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) and developer Liam Carroll’s North Quay Investments (NQI) Ltd relating to a NQI development on the north quays.

The case was settled on consent yesterday on terms which provide for the setting aside of the permission granted by the docklands authority for the NQI development.

The terms also include a declaration that the docklands authority acted in excess of its powers in entering into an agreement with NQI on May 31st, 2007, and an order quashing the agreement.

The DDDA has also agreed to pay the Spencer Dock Development Company’s legal costs in the settlement ruled yesterday, on consent of the parties, by Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

Spencer Dock Development,which controls development lands over 29 acres at Spencer Dock, Dublin, had claimed the DDDA “seriously compromised itself” in relation to alleged commitments to NQI under the agreement and had given NQI “a considerable commercial advantage”.

It also claimed the DDDA may be liable for millions of euro in losses to Spencer Dock Development as a result of the agreement, as NQI had effectively secured a “rewriting of the planning scheme” to ensure “the maximum benefit” for the lands owned by it.

The company claimed NQI had secured a major advantage over other developers in the docklands areas.

Yesterday’s settlement comes after the DDDA told the Commercial Court last month it was not appealing an earlier court decision that it acted outside its powers in granting “fast-track” permission for the €200 million NQI development on Dublin’s north quays.

The DDDA decision not to appeal Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan’s judgment in October means it may yet be exposed to multimillion-euro compensation claims from developers.

The judgment could also affect the docklands authority’s plans to create a high-rise quarter jutting out into the river Liffey along North Wall Quay, east of Spencer Dock.

This scheme would have been facilitated by NQI’s ceding of land, free of charge.

The Irish Times

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