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ABP deputy chairperson’s conflict of interest undermines Cork decision

Words: Roger Milne
Cork / iStock_000017931158

An Bord Pleanála (ABP) has confirmed that it will concede a High Court challenge to a planning decision following concern over a potential undeclared conflict of interest by Paul Hyde, its deputy chairperson.

Eichsfeld Ltd was refused permission in March for a fast-track scheme of 191 build-to-rent flats in Blackpool, Cork City, on a site near property owned by a company in which Mr Hyde had a 25 per cent share.

Hyde’s stake in H20 Property Holdings Ltd, which is controlled by his father Stephen Hyde, was not declared in his declarations of interest to ABP.

He has insisted that there was no need to because the company was dormant and not carrying on any trade, in effect. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The developer’s judicial review aimed at overturning the refusal for 191 build-to-rent apartments is understood to have been grounded on an allegation of “objective bias” in that Hyde had allegedly failed to declare a conflict of interest in the decision.

Meanwhile, the terms of reference have been published for the report about Hyde, which senior counsel Remy Farrell is preparing for housing minister Darragh O’Brien.

This reveals that three separate ABP decisions involving Hyde are under scrutiny, including the Blackpool scheme.

This probe is also considering whether the deputy chairperson complied with relevant codes of practice, legislation on ethics for those engaged in public office and whether he should continue as ABP deputy chairperson.

Read more:

An Bord Pleanála deputy chair steps back pending probes

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