Tuesday 23 July 2019

Calls to safeguard house months before Ana murder

In memory: Flowers laid in front of Glenwood House, Lucan, where Ana Kriegel died. Picture: Mark Condren
In memory: Flowers laid in front of Glenwood House, Lucan, where Ana Kriegel died. Picture: Mark Condren
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

In the months before Ana Kriegel was murdered in a dilapidated house in Lucan, a local historical society had pleaded with the council to safeguard the property due to a spate of anti-social activity there.

Glenwood House in Lucan was built as an affluent farmhouse in about 1800, with Four Courts architect James Gandon believed to be involved in its design. It was purchased in the early 2000s by Sherborough Properties.

But in recent years, and despite being a protected structure, the house has fallen into a state of disrepair, becoming a hotspot for anti-social behaviour.

The roof has collapsed in several places and several rooms were completely gutted by fire.

In January 2018 - three months before Ana Kriegel was murdered - the Society for Old Lucan contacted Fingal County Council's heritage officer to request that it enforce the building's protected structure status.

In an email seen by the Irish Independent, the group's chair, Hellen Farrell, wrote: "Can you advise if [the developer] will be pursued to repair this protected structure and return it to full use, or will they be allowed to continue to derelict this historic property and ignore legislation to protect such structures?"

However, despite the group's request, the property remained unchanged at the time and after Ana's death.

On February 26, the Architectural Conservation Officer of Fingal replied to confirm that the society's concerns had been raised with the consultant that owns the property.

"I outlined that there is a statutory duty on the owner to protect and safeguard the protected structure and so buildings need to be monitored and adequately protected.

"The buildings should be assessed to see if damage caused by recent fires and if repairs are necessary and also for all buildings on the site to be secured against unauthorised access," the officer said.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Farrell said: “We were very concerned that the building was at risk of being destroyed and asked the Fingal Heritage office if they could add restriction measures.

“Although, it is the responsibility of the owners, Fingal should have ensured that the developers had carried out the necessary repairs,” she said.

Ms Farrell added that she believed other members of the Old Lucan Facebook group had contacted the council asking them to ensure the property was secured and repaired.

In 2016, Sherborough Properties got planning permission for a 62-bed nursing home to be built on the Glenwood site.

In its application, the proposed development will consist of the change of use and refurbishment of the house and its associated outbuildings.

However, in 2017, a separate planning application by Sherborough Properties to build a two-storey extension to the rear of the previously approved nursing home was rejected.

Attempts were made to contact Sherborough Properties, but the company did not reply at the time of going to press.

Irish Independent

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