Independent TD Peter Fitzpatrick has been unsuccessful in an appeal to An Bord Pleanála over a decision to grant one of his neighbours permission for a second house on their property.
Mr Fitzpatrick, who is also chairman of Louth GAA County Board, Raymond and Cina Agnew and other residents had objected to Louth County Council giving the go-ahead to Mary Donnelly for the development at 13 Belfry Gardens, Dundalk.
Conditional permission was granted by the local authority to demolish a single-storey sunroom to the side of the existing two-storey dwelling, elevational changes, revision of site boundaries, by way of subdividing the property into 2 sites, and to construct a new two-storey detached dwelling within new site, new vehicular entrance onto public road to serve proposed dwelling, new connection to existing public sewer and all associated works.
The existing house has a gross floor area of 226sqm and the proposed new dwelling, 173.5sqm, reduced from 234sqm.
Two third-party appeals were received by An Bord Pleanála from Joseph Cunningham and Associates Ltd on behalf of Peter Fitzpatrick, while Environmental Heritage Planning prepared an appeal on behalf of residents, including Raymond and Cina Agnew, listed therein.
The grounds of the appeals included that the proposed development would be out of character for the area and set an undesirable precedent, haphazard development and detract from the amenities of the estate.
Concerns were expressed about traffic hazard arising from the site entrance’s location on a bend, particularly arising from visitor parking; overshadowing of the existing house and garden and inadequate information of surface water, which could affect neighbours.
‘The land use objective has changed from the previous county development plan and is less supportive of infill development.
‘The changes made at ‘Further Information’ are not sufficient to preserve the residential amenities of Nos. 12 and 13 Belfry Gardens – increased overlooking, overbearing, loss of daylight and sunlight, overshadowing and disruption and nuisance during construction.’
A response from the applicant included that Mrs Donnelly reduced the size of the proposed dwelling at ‘Further Information’ stage by 62.5 square metres and increased the size of the private amenity area, ‘recognising the issues raised and concerns of neighbours’.
‘Two car parking spaces are provided, with egress in forward gear and with adequate sight visibility lines, so no traffic hazard arises.’
The response also stated that the proportions of the plots in Belfry Gardens differed, so few could provide for a second dwelling.
‘Originally, more houses were intended to be developed, but lands were sold off to other developments.’
A response from Louth County Council said the dwelling house, as reduced in scale at ‘Further Information’ ‘does not compromise the character of the estate.
‘There are no serious impacts arising on No. 12 Belfry Gardens and the proposed dwelling house is sufficiently offset from the common boundary.
‘No overlooking of No. 13 Belfry Gardens arises as opaque glass at first floor level prevents this.’
It also said that sight lines were appropriate and that construction conditions had been attached, while surface water details were also conditioned.
An inspector from An Bord Pleanála recommended that conditional permission be granted.
The Board decided to grant permission generally in accordance with the inspector’s recommendation, subject to standard conditions.
‘It is considered that the proposed development, subject to conditions, would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities of the area, would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety, and would therefore be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.’
It did not agree with the inspector’s recommendation to omit the single-storey element on the southern side of the proposed development.
‘The Board considered that sufficient separation distance was proposed to be provided in the interest of visual amenity.’