Limerick solicitor welcomes second rejection of strategic housing development

Limerick solicitor welcomes second rejection of strategic housing development

Michelle Hayes

A solicitor who objected to a strategic housing development in Limerick on environmental grounds has welcomed a decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for a second time.

Limerick solicitor Michelle Hayes, president of Environmental Trust Ireland, said the proposed development at Canal Bank, Corbally, Limerick raised a number of environmental issues, including its potential impact on biodiversity loss.

The development would have comprised seven separate blocks containing 363 build-to-rent apartments and an additional 61 student apartments ranging in height from six to 10 storeys.

Ms Hayes said: “This is the second time that An Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission in relation to the Pa Healy road development and lessons should have been learned by the developer after the first refusal.

“We are in a biodiversity loss crisis and we cannot on the one hand declare a biodiversity loss crisis when massive large scale monstrosities like this, if unchallenged, would create a concrete jungle which potentially would have major detrimental consequences for habitats and ecosystems within specially designated environmental areas protected at European level.

“Where half the world’s species have disappeared or are at risk of extinction, care must be exercised to ensure that developments do not contribute to the biodiversity loss crisis.”

She added: “Environmental Trust Ireland is encouraged by the fact that An Bord Pleanala attached great significance to the ecological and environmental concerns which we raised and in particular, the finding that there were deficiencies and inadequacies in the Natura Impact Statement submitted by the developer which were not addressed.

“This was one of the main reasons for refusal of planning permission for the development.”

In its submission to An Bord Pleanála, Environmental Trust Ireland also criticised the build-to-rent element of the development, which it said would “lead to commoditisation of housing for the benefit of investment and cuckoo funds, to the detriment of those who wish to purchase a home of their own”.

“These types of development distort the housing market leaving the goal of home ownership and rents at affordable prices unreachable for many,” the submission said. “This is contrary to sustainable and proper development and to public and social policy.”

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