Sunday 16 June 2019

Bankrupt developer flouted plan laws to build mansion

Ray Grehan
Ray Grehan
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

BANKRUPT property developer Ray Grehan flouted planning laws when he built his lavish mansion, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The builder, who owes almost €300m to NAMA and has filed for bankruptcy in the UK, was initially granted permission to build a relatively modest two-storey home just outside Maynooth, Co Kildare.

However, he never built the house and instead later reapplied for planning permission to build a much larger house on the same site.

Mr Grehan (pictured) began construction using the new plans before Kildare County Council granted permission for the changed design.

The new house was more than 1,000sq ft larger than the original design approved by the council. One official who inspected the site prior to planning approval found it to be "near completion" and called the development "a blatant breach of planning laws".

But despite this the developer was allowed to keep the new design after securing planning retention.

Mr Grehan was a leading light of the boom years, setting a Celtic Tiger-era record in 2005 when he purchased the two-acre Veterinary College site in Ballsbridge for €83.7m per acre.

He filed for bankruptcy in the UK on December 30, using a London address.


While bankruptcy trustees are expected to take control of apartments he owns in New York and London, with the proceeds of their sale going to NAMA, it is understood that no action has been taken against Mr Grehan's family home near Maynooth.

Mr Grehan made the first planning application for an approximately 5,600sq ft house and separate stables in 1998. Individuals applying to build houses in rural areas must have a close family connection to the area according to planning rules.

Mr Grehan -- who is from Galway -- wrote a letter appealing for permission to build on the rural site in Kildare, citing his employment of 150 people at the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth.

A later report on the application states that "a recommendation was made to refuse permission" because Mr -Grehan hadn't shown how he complied with the council's rural housing policy and due to the site's location in an area of "special development control".

However, council documents show this objection was overruled by the then-county manager Niall Bradley.

In 2000, Mr Grehan submitted a different application with new plans showing an almost 7,000sq ft property.

An official wrote in the planning report: "I consider the dwelling type to be excessive in scale, mass and height" and said the development was "inappropriate to this rural area".

Mr Grehan refused to comment last night.

Irish Independent

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