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Court challenge over residential development next to Kilkenny period home

Court challenge over residential development next to Kilkenny period home

High court reporters

An owner and resident of a historic period home in Kilkenny says a proposed adjoining residential development, including a four-storey apartment block, will irreparably harm "the historic nature and heritage setting" of his property.

John F FitzGerald of Orchardton House at Callan Road, outside Kilkenny city, is seeking to bring a High Court challenge against An Bord PleanΓ‘la over its decision last March to grant permission for 183 homes, including a four-storey apartment block of 32 units, some 20-40 metres from his home.

Orchardton was designed and constructed in 1817/18 by renowned architect of the time, William Robertson, who redesigned Kilkenny Castle. Mr FitzGerald jointly owns the house with his brother, Gerald FitzGerald, who are successors in title to the estate of the late Alexis G FitzGerald and Mary P FitzGerald.

Judicial review

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On Wednesday, Mr FitzGerald applied, on an ex-parte (one-side only represented) basis, to Mr Justice Charles Meenan for leave to bring judicial review proceedings against the board seeking to have the decision quashed.

Mr FitzGerald, representing himself, said the four-storey block is one of the key elements of the plan, and it will have a "significant impact" on his property. It was his contention the board failed to take into account the impact of the development on his "significant period property".

Mr Justice Meenan directed that Mr FitzGerald's application be heard on notice to the board and to the developer Cairn Homes Properties Ltd, which he joined as a notice party. He said the matter could return in October.

Cairn Homes

Mr FitzGerald and his brother wrote a number of times to An Bord PleanΓ‘la objecting to the development and also seeking a meeting or oral hearing on the plan, but the board went ahead and made the decision on March 11 last.

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In an affidavit, Mr FitzGerald said there was a "complete failure" by Cairn Homes to recognise or acknowledge the existence of his family's adjoining residence at any time in the preparation of its plan.

The board's decision was invalid, he said, on grounds including "an initial complete deliberate failure" to recognise the existence of Orchardton.

It failed in its decision to comment on or respond to issues raised by the FitzGeralds. These included landmark location of the four-storey block and "its overwhelming visual impact on a roundabout on the Callan Road national route/William Robertson Way, which leads in to Kilkenny city.

There was also, he said, a failure to commission an architectural impact statement with reference to Orchardton. There was a further failure to request Cairn Homes to provide photo-montages or computer generated images with regard to potential visual overshadowing of Orchardton.

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There were also blatant breaches of the Kilkenny City and County Development plan by Cairn with reference to provisions of architectural heritage, the provision of a child-care facility in the new development and the lack of car parking.

It will "destroy and do away with our privacy and affect our family life, health, security and well-being, he said.

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