Sunday 16 December 2018

Council spent €880,000 on house it plans to demolish

Plans to demolish St Paul's Lodge to extend car park

St Paul’s Lodge on Herbert Road
St Paul’s Lodge on Herbert Road

Mary Fogarty

Wicklow County Council has paid €880,000 for a property it intends to demolish in order to provide 50 parking spaces in Bray.

In an email to a resident of the area, District Manager Des O'Brien said that the sale of St Paul's Lodge was closed last week.

'I can now advise that the price paid was €880,000 plus the seller's reasonable expenses,' wrote Mr O'Brien.

The property is adjacent to the Herbert Road car park, which the council intents to extend following a public consultation and Part 8 process.

The planning details and drawings are online at the planning section of under the reference 17/1478. Submissions can be made until February 20. This date is expected to be extended owing to the Christmas break.

St Paul's Lodge is a four-bedroom, two-storey detached house, built in 1904 and formerly the residence of the headmaster of St Paul's primary school. The school was on the site of the current Herbert Road car park.

Herbert Road resident Colum Kenny said that he and other neighbours had thought that the sale was conditional on Part 8 approval by the council.

The sale 'presents councillors with a done deal that is highly likely to influence any decision made by them,' according to Mr Kenny.

'Council officials have made it clear the only reason for purchasing this house is its demolition for a car park,' Mr Kenny wrote in a letter to Wicklow County Council Chief Executive Frank Curran.

'You now appear to have committed approximately €1 million in public funds (purchase price plus demolition costs) on an expenditure that you simultaneously assert is open to consideration by requirement of the law and that you know is dependant on a democratic decision by the council.'

'We are in the process of responding to the council's invitation for submissions,' said Mr Kenny.

He said that their objections will include financial, environmental, traffic-management, town-planning and architectural factors among others.

Bray People