Saturday 17 January 2009

Court overturns council decision on McNamara development

Developer Bernard McNamara and his company Radora Developments Ltd have secured a court order overturning a “defective” decision by Dublin City Council which prevented the demolition of nine 19th century properties as part of a development at Merrion Road which was expected to achieve profits of €40 million.

The dispute between Mr McNamara and the council overt the listing of the properties was settled before Mr Justice Peter Kelly at the Commercial Court today on several terms.

These included the council’s conceding that its decision of July 7th, 2008 listing the properties on its Register of Protected Structures was in breach of provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

The council accepted its decision was in excess of its powers under the Act because, prior to the decision being made, all elected councillors had not considered submissions of Radora and Mr Mc Namara or reports against listing the properties by two conservation experts and by the Council’s own conservation officer.

The settlement also involves Radora and Mr McNamara withdrawing claims against the council of negligence and misfeasance in public office in relation to the listing decision. The council is also to make a contribution to Mr McNamara’s legal costs.

The registered properties, known as the LLandaff properties, are located at 207-223 Merrion Road beside the Tara Towers Hotel and are part of a larger site bought for €10 million between 2002 and 2004.

The Tara Towers development, known as the Elm Park development, is being carried out by another McNamara company, Woodmead Ltd. The LLandaff properties were acquired with a view to extending the Elm Park development which, the judge noted, was expected at the time to achieve a profit of €40 million.

Radora had claimed some of the elected members of the council had voted to list the properties without addressing the issue as to whether they were of special interest and in the absence of evidence to support the listing and in the face of overwhelming evidence against it.

Submissions from local residents arguing for the properties to be listed as protected structures contained no expert evidence to support the claim the properties were of special interest, Radora also claimed.

Radora’s first planning application for the development was refused by the Council and An Bord Pleanala in 2006. Radora has since proposed a new development which requires the demolition of the LLandaff properties.

The proceedings by Radora and Mr McNamara against the council were admitted to the Commercial Court last November and the action was due to be herad over six days next month.

Irish Times

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