Ardagh Glass loses court bid to halt retrospective planning for Quinn site

Ardagh Glass, the container manufacturing company controlled by Dublin financier Paul Coulson, has lost the first round of a legal battle in Britain that sought to force a local council to close a competing glass site in Chester owned by businessman Sean Quinn.

Ardagh Glass has been at loggerheads with Chester City Council and other local authorities for years over the controversial Quinn Glass facility, which is one of Europe’s largest. Ardagh has maintained that the Quinn Glass site should not be granted retrospective planning permission for its factory. Ardagh Glass also has a factory in the area.

The local council had been due in February to make a determination on a fresh planning application put forward by Quinn Glass for its facility, but that meeting was postponed after Ardagh Glass indicated it was initiating legal action in order to prevent the council from granting permission for the site.

Ardagh argued that local planning authorities had no power to grant retrospective planning permission, because no Environmental Impact Assessment -- required by EU law -- was carried out by Quinn Glass at the outset.

Ardagh maintained the local authorities should have issued an enforcement order against the Quinn Glass factory instructing it to cease operation and to be demolished. In a judgment issued yesterday, a UK court dismissed Ardagh’s argument that under EC law planning permission cannot be granted retrospectively and declined to have a cease operation order issued against Quinn Glass.

The judge hearing the case said for a development such as that constructed by Quinn Glass, the local planning authorities should serve an enforcement notice to ensure that their powers continue to be available.

Ardagh Glass has been granted leave to appeal yesterday’s judgment. Quinn Glass has made an application to the court for costs.

By John Mulligan

600450 Ardagh Glass loses court bid to halt retrospective planning for Quinn site
Date: 21 April 2009

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