Hellfire Club groups launch legal challenge to stop visitor centrePadraig Conlon 24 Aug 2020
SOUTH Dublin County Council’s plans to build a visitor centre beside the Hellfire Club will have to wait after opponents of the project launched a legal challenge.
The planned €20m scheme, which got the green light from An Bord Pleanála earlier this year, would include a panoramic café, exhibition space, a ramblers lounge, toilets, changing facilities, a shop and education centre.
The council’s plans, however, have led to furious objections from many residents, politicians and Save The Hellfire, an umbrella group of local residents’ associations and community groups.
Now Save the Hellfire, together with Hellfire Massy Residents’ Association, have lodged papers in the High Court seeking a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision.
In a statement released jointly, the groups said:
“We have taken legal advice and the course of action is clear.
“We need to overturn the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission to South Dublin County Council for the Dublin Mountains Project. Our only option is to seek a judicial review in the High Court.
“The High Court is the only body that has the power to quash a decision by a public body such as An Bord Pleanála.
“This is a huge undertaking but it is essential if we are to stop South Dublin County Council.
“We are encouraged by the massive support that you have given Save the Hellfire, from local Residents Associations, Community Groups and over 23k who signed our online and paper petitions. We are encouraged by other planning campaigns elsewhere that have successfully engaged in Judicial Review.
“The hearing date is November 3.
Local Independent Councillor Alan Edge is opposed to the planned development.
“I have sought at our last meeting a review of the capital spending on the project in the light of the impacts of covid and have called for an urgent rethink,” he said.
“I will be pressing the matter in September.
“While some changes are necessary, such as improved parking in the area, a €15 million visitor centre is not a worthwhile use of public funds at this moment in time and as councillors, I think we have an important oversight role in ensuring that money which could be spent elsewhere is not lavished on a development which is neither necessary nor desirable.”