Mooreland and Owenvarragh Residents’ Association’s Judicial Review into the granting of planning permission for the redevelopment of Casement Park stadium has been successful. In Belfast High Court today, Mr Justice Horner quashed the planning permission granted in December 2013.
We welcome the Court’s decision – it follows Mr Justice Horner’s judgement earlier in the week that the planning decision-making process was unlawful and fundamentally flawed. This is an unprecedented victory for residents living in the vicinity of the existing stadium whom we helped through the Judicial Review process.
Mr Justice Horner identified failures in the Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed plan to redevelop the stadium and also found that the effect of bigger crowds on the surrounding roads network had not been properly examined. Police concerns about safety issues in relation to a capacity crowd of 38,000 had not – it was heard – been relayed to the Environment Minister in his assessment of the application.
Minister Durkan said:
“My Department acknowledges today’s court decision. The Judge found that in reaching my decision on this planning application there were errors in how aspects were processed thus rendering the decision unlawful. This is disappointing. I will now carefully consider the full judgement and outcome of today’s decision”
We cannot stress enough how this case shows the need for our free, independent Planning Advice Service which helps disadvantaged communities and people to access, understand and effectively participate in the planning process. Our front line service is particularly important when disadvantaged communities are met with large-scale, complex, technical planning proposals that will potentially impact and alter the fabric and function of their neighbourhoods.
Happy Christmas to Mooreland and Owenvarragh Residents’ Association – a long hard fight well won.