North Dublin residents say they are considering High Court action after An Bord Pleanála gave permission to build more than 536 homes on a site surrounded on three sides by St Anne’s Park, Raheny. 

The board granted permission under the Strategic Housing Development regulations introduced last year to speed up developments of more than 100 residential units.

Such planning applications bypass local authorities and go straight to An Bord Pleanála. This application was the subject of thousands of objections and petition signatures and was opposed by local councillors and many sports clubs in the area.

The development will take place on six hectares of so-called Institutional Land, which has tighter zoning restrictions designed to protect existing amenities for the community.

However, the board gave permission for a development consisting of 104 houses and 432 apartments in blocks up to eight storeys, consisting mainly of one and two-bed units.

Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Labour) said he was surprised at the decision. Councillor John Lyons of Solidarity-PBP described it as an insult and an assault on the democratic process.

Welcoming the decision today CEO of Marlet, Pat Crean said this one step planning process is one of the best initiatives to enable the building of homes and said the process took a total of 13 weeks.

However, Dublin City Council had expressed concerns about the development.

Chief Executive Owen Keegan said the plan fell "significantly short" of the 25% open space requirement for Z15 land with only just under 19% available for community use.

The council's Parks and Landscape department also expressed concerns including loss of sports club facilities and the impact on Brent Geese.

In its ruling An Board Pleanála said the developers should pay a financial contribution for the shortfall in open space. It said Brent Geese Wintering population would not be significantly affected.

The plan also involves the loss of six playing pitches used by Clontarf GAA, Rugby and soccer clubs. As part of the deal with the Vincentian Fathers, the developers said they would build one full-size and one five -a- side all-weather pitches and sports hall.

However, this separate planning application was refused by the city council because of the lands importance as a feeding ground for Brent Geese and the integrity of the North Bull Island Special Protection Area.

This evening the Vincentian Fathers said they would appeal this to An Bord Pleanála.