Friday 20 September 2019

How Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe's lavish upgrade to home had been planned 'to store music'


Conversion: Couple wanted home to be six bedrooms
Conversion: Couple wanted home to be six bedrooms

Caroline O'Doherty

Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe had plans for a lavish upgrade to their home when their financial difficulties began to mount.

The couple applied for planning permission in May 2005 to extend their already substantial three-bedroom family home into a six-bedroom residence.

The floor space at Park House, in Growtown, just outside Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, was to increase by two-thirds, from 435 square metres to 715 square metres, and there would also be a new entrance hall, drawing room and sun room.

Separate from the house, the application included plans for a large two-car garage with an upstairs, providing generous additional space.

"The proposed garage is c6.6m in height which is excessive for a domestic garage and there is attic space at first-floor level which has a floor to ceiling height of 2.3 metres thus could easily be converted to habitable accommodation," the planner examining the case for Meath County Council noted.

Architect Enda Sheils, who handled the planning application for the couple, in a letter to the council revealed something of their lifestyle.

"Mr McNamara has a personal collection of literally thousands of compact discs, tapes, demo tapes, etc, for which he requires proper, safe and dry storage. It is his intention to use the attic space over his proposed domestic garage for this purpose," he wrote.

"Mr McNamara currently is renting storage for this purpose. The space available is not suitable hence the reason for the need for this attic storage space over his proposed domestic garage."

The High Court heard this week the couple had financial problems from the early 2000s. The court ruled the couple can have €2.9m written off their €3.7m worth of debts.

They will be allowed to keep Park House, now valued at €550,000.

Irish Independent

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