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Three species of bat used Stone Villa for foraging and commuting, survey found 
A local residents’ group has initiated a challenge to planning approval for an apartment development on Dublin’s North Circular Road on grounds including it may negatively impact on local bat species. 
The application concerns An Bord Pleanala’s permission for 18 apartments on the site of a protected structure known as Stone Villa, at North Circular Road, Dublin 7. 
Last month, the board gave Lilacstone Limited permission to renovate Stone Villa, currently derelict, into three apartments, and to build a 29 new apartment units on the site. 
Shadowmill Ltd, a company made up of local residents opposed to the development, is seeking leave from the High Court to bring judicial review proceedings seeking to have the board’s decision quashed. 
Represented by John Kenny BL, and solicitor Fred Logue, Shadowmill claims the permission is flawed on several grounds. 
It is claimed the proposed development will result in the loss of significant tree cover. 
A survey had identified that three species of bat used the site for foraging and commuting, while Stone Villa was identified as having the potential to house bat roosts. 
Shadowmill claims the board did not have any information before it which would allow it to reach a conclusion compatible with its obligations under the EU Habitats Directive. 
The board has allowed the developer to remove a significant number of trees from the site, without any information as to how many of the trees are potential bat roosts, it is claimed. 
The decision is therefore incompatible with to board’s obligation to protect bats from deliberate disturbance, it is submitted. 
Shadowmill also claims the decision is flawed because the developer did not submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report or conduct any screening of the site before granting permission as it is allegedly obliged to do. 
It further alleges the decision is in material contravention of the 2016-22 Dublin City Development Plan and aspects of the 2001 Planning and Development Act. 
The proposed case is against the Board with Lilacstone and Dublin City Council as notice parties. 
When the matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday, he directed the application for permission to bring the challenge be made on notice to the board. 
The matter will return before the court in April. 
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