HomeBussinessCRH boss goes to court over Cork planning row

CRH boss goes to court over Cork planning row

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CRH chief executive Albert Manifold has filed two High Court cases tied to a long-running debate with planning authorities over the construction of two agricultural sheds on Long Island — also known as Inis Fada — just off the coat of Schull in Co Cork.

Manifold has a house on the island, which is accessible only by boat from Colla Pier and is in an area of special conservation within the Roaringwater Bay and Islands SAC [special area of conservation].

Planning files show that he has been amid an ongoing difference of opinion with planning authorities just lately over the precise planning status of his latest additions to the site.

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Cork County Council, for example, thought that the developments were not exempted, noting that they were “not satisfied that the structures are being used for agricultural purposes”, which would have allowed them to be declared exempt. (Just one of the many different planning matters being tossed about in the various files.)

Manifold has a different view, and planning files show he has argued that there is “no evidence for the council to come to the conclusion that they are not being used as such”.

He then called upon An Bord Pleanála (ABP) to adjudicate on the matter, but unfortunately for him, ABP’s inspector has concluded that “the development, alone and in combination with other plans and projects, would have likely resulted in a significant effect on the Roaringwater Bay and Islands Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in view of the site’s conservation objectives”.

ABP also concluded that “the development would interfere with the character of a designated high-value landscape area” under the Cork County Development Plan, and thus concluded that the two sheds “is development, and is not exempted development”.

Manifold has lodged two sets of proceedings with the High Court. It’s not clear yet what his argument is going to be, but he has engaged Fred Logue, the well-known solicitor and planning law specialist, to litigate the matter for him.

Manifold, who is one of the highest-paid executives in Ireland with a package worth €12 million last year, is unlikely to be found wanting when it comes to a long argument over planning law.

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