Singer Mary Coughlan is facing having to demolish a ‘granny flat’ on the grounds of her rural home in Co Wicklow after An Bord Pleanála refused to grant her planning permission for the unauthorised development.
The board has rejected an appeal by the well-known blues singer against the decision of Wicklow County Council not to grant retrospective permission for the transformation of an outbuilding at Ms Coughlan’s home on the slopes of the Little Sugar Loaf outside Kilmacanogue into an independent living unit for her daughter’s family.
The Galway-born singer had been issued with a formal notice by the council in June 2019 that the granny flat, which was constructed three years earlier, was an unauthorised development. Outlining the basis for its decision, the board said it was an objective of the council’s county development plan to strengthen the established structures of villages and smaller settlements in Wicklow in order to support local economies and accommodate additional population in a way that supported the viability of local infrastructure, businesses and services.
It claimed allowing the second home at the singer’s property would “give rise to sporadic housing in a rural area lacking certain public services and community facilities and served by a poor road network”.
As a consequence, the board said the building contravened the council’s objective and would lead to demands for the uneconomic provision of services in an area where they were not planned.
The board said Ms Coughlan had also not demonstrated that domestic effluent from the building would be treated to the required standard and therefore it posed a threat of groundwater pollution and associated risk to public health.
In addition, it said the minor road where the singer’s home was located was “seriously substandard” and lacked footpaths, cycle paths and public lighting.
Granny flats are only permitted by Wicklow County Council under certain conditions including where their needs are justified for use by a close family member, where they form an integrated part of the main building and are under 45m² in size.
The ruling means Ms Coughlan is likely to face enforcement proceedings to demolish the unauthorised building.