Sunday 21 February 2010

Club's bid to appeal planning decision rejected

WESTWOOD LEISURE Club in Dublin has been refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against a High Court decision upholding a Bord Pleanála ruling that its Bar Code nightclub is an unauthorised development.

Last month, Mr Justice John Hedigan rejected claims by the club’s owners, Templeville Developments, that there had been a breach of fair procedures by the board in refusing an application to retain the nightclub use of the Clontarf premises.

The judge also rejected the club’s claim of failure by the board to have proper regard for the Dublin City Development Plan in reaching its decision. Yesterday, Michael Collins, for Westwood, asked the judge for permission to appeal his decision to the Supreme Court on grounds it raised a point of law of “exceptional public importance”.

Mr Collins said the club wanted the Supreme Court to determine if An Bord Pleanála was required to explain its reasoning for refusing permission sufficiently clearly to enable the club to reasonably assess the prospects of succeeding with an alternative proposal.

It was also seeking a determination on whether the board was entitled to refuse permission on the basis that any new works at the development would facilitate an intensification of use.

Notwithstanding its application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, the club was preparing an alternative plan which would scale down the premises, counsel added.

He said the club tried to engage with the planning authority, Dublin City Council, as to what might be acceptable to it. It was hoped that process might be made easier by the council “revealing the fifth secret of Fatima in terms of what is acceptable”, he said.

Nuala Butler, for An Bord Pleanála, said the club had raised no issues of public importance requiring determination by the Supreme Court. There was nothing new or novel in what the club was arguing for, she said. Conleth Bradley, for the council, agreed with Ms Butler.

Mr Justice Hedigan rejected the club’s application after holding no point of exceptional public importance was raised in relation to the club’s use. The planning authority had indicated what was permissible at the club and that any bar was to be ancillary to the club’s main activities, the judge said.

The judge adjourned separate proceedings by the council against Templeville seeking to enforce notices that it is in breach of its planning permission.

In its unsuccessful High Court application, Westwood wanted to quash a Bord Pleanála decision upholding the council’s refusal of change of use of the premises to include a late-night bar.

The board also said the Bram Stoker Museum/Dracula Experience on the complex constituted an over-development of the site and found the use of shipping containers and portacabins for storage and signage for Bar Code contrary to proper planning.

Irish Times

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