The secretive owners of Ireland's most expensive home could have to reveal their identities if they're to be allowed proceed with plans to revamp the Dublin property.
'Walford' on Shrewsbury Road was sold in March to a mystery buyer for €14m. It had been bought for €58m in 2005 by Gayle Killilea, the wife of embattled developer Sean Dunne.
But the new owner, hiding behind a Cyprus-registered company called Yesreb Holding, has applied to undertake a major makeover of the 100-year-old, six-bedroom home and its 1.8 acres of land.
City planners have this week raised concerns over the plans, however.
The application to redevelop the property was made by Yesreb Holding, which lists its directors as Totaltrust Management, meaning the identity of the owners remains unknown.
There has been speculation that either Mr Dunne, Ms Killilea or both may have retained an interest in the property.
"The applicant is requested to clarify the name(s) of company directors and to provide documentary evidence that the applicant has sufficient legal interest to carry out the proposed development," the council said this week.
Those development plans call for the doubling of Walford's floorspace from 433sqm to 964sqm. The owner also wants to build four detached homes on the land, each extending to 608sqm, with three storeys over a basement.
Walford itself is in need of major work. It has been uninhabited since 2005 and is reported to be in a near derelict state, with the rear garden having been described as looking like a "ploughed field".
Dublin City Council planners have said they're concerned about the redevelopment plans that have been submitted for the site.
"The provision of four houses as shown would appear to significantly alter the character and pattern of development in this residential conservation area, and would lead to a level of densification and a layout which is inconsistent with the established pattern of development in the area," the planners said.
"Furthermore, the planning authority is concerned that the proposed development would, if permitted as proposed, set an undesirable precedent for other similar development in the vicinity of the site."
The council argues that the size of the garden that would remain for the original residence following the construction of the new homes would be "disproportionate" to the size and scale of the dwelling. It also maintains that the rear gardens of the new houses would also be too small.
The council also wants a survey of bats and small mammals that may be living on the site to be undertaken.
The local residents' association – headed by Total Produce chairman Carl McCann and Gowan motor group boss Michael Maughan – has lamented that the owners of Walford didn't discuss the redevelopment plans with them.