Golfing great Christy O'Connor's luxury homes plan stymied as he fails to find buyers
GOLFING great Christy O'Connor Jnr has found himself in the rough after luxury homes he planned to build in Galway failed to find buyers.
Planning permission for the sites will expire next January and local authorities have rejected his application for an extension.
Mr O'Connor had applied for an extension for three luxury homes overlooking Galway Bay, which were expected to fetch up to €1m each at the height of the boom.
He initially secured planning permission for the build in 2007 and had hoped to sell the homes from the plans before commencing construction.
However, with only three months left on the original planning application, the golfer has, to date, failed to secure a buyer.
In submissions to the local council, Mr O'Connor said he had received expressions of interest from potential buyers for the homes but no sale had been secured.
"Due to the economic times we are in, we are finding it very hard to sell the property. There are some people interested, but in case there are no sales, we would like to get the permission extended for another five years in order to give us more time to sell the property," he added.
The three-bedroom, two- storey homes were planned for Gentian Hill, Knocknacarra which overlooks Galway Bay. The contemporary designs, inclusive of cedar cladding on the outside, boasted of stunning views over Galway Bay and the surrounding area.
However, the time extension was refused by planning officials because no environmental impact study had been done on the site.
Officials pointed out that the site includes a 'cSAC' or candidate Special Area of Conservation, but no screenings or environmental impact assessment had been carried out.
The report from the planning authority also stated that extensions are often granted in cases where building has commenced. However, a number of inspections carried out at the site found that no substantial works had been undertaken as of last month.
The authority added that the development was "not viable due to the economy".
The golfer had initially applied for permission to build five homes on the site back in 2006, but reduced the number after an appeal by An Bord Pleanala.
Mr O'Connor, who has designed a number of golf courses in the area, lived in Galway until 2001 before relocating to Dublin. The golfer has put his name to courses in Ireland and Europe.
Mr O'Connor was out of the country yesterday and unavailable for comment.