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Community council says it fears ‘significant overdevelopment’ of the Kildare town 
A community group has been granted permission by the High Court to challenge planning permission for 91 homes on the outskirts of Clane, Co Kildare. 
Clane Community Council is seeking an order overturning the project, which it says will contribute to “significant overdevelopment” of the town. 
Stephen Dodd SC, instructed by Eoin Brady of FP Logue Solicitors, for the applicant, said the board has granted the permission notwithstanding that it has already approved planning for 333 residential units on the same greenfield site. 
The group last year issued High Court proceedings over that approval and had been granted a stay restraining works under the permission. 
Ms Justice Siobhán Phelan said she was satisfied substantial grounds of challenge had been established in the group’s new challenge. She granted leave and adjourned the matter to a later date. 
The group’s case is against An Bord Pleanála, Ireland and the Attorney General, while developer Westar Investments Limited is a notice party. 
‘Generic’ policy 
Among the grounds of challenge is a claim the planning board misinterpreted policy by relying on a “very generic” national policy to overcome stipulations in local development plans which are themselves an expression of national policy, said counsel. 
In documents before the court, the group also alleges the board erred by granting permission for apartment blocks of three storeys without having adequate regard to the local development plan which states that development on edge-of-town sites “shall be of low intensity”, with apartments not normally permitted. 
The proposed development comprises 58 houses, 33 apartments and a creche. 
As the community group claims the permission was granted in contravention of the local development plan, which sets a framework for future development consents, it thus alleges a breach of the European Union’s Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive. 
Mr Dodd said this alleged contravention works to “override” the constraints of the development plan, which had identified, described and evaluated the likely significant effects its implementation would have on the environment. 
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