Family appeals order to demolish structures

 

A FAMILY who reside in various structures including a chalet and a mobile home at Lough Dan, Co Wicklow, have appealed against a decision of Wicklow Circuit Court requiring the structures to be demolished or removed.

Katie Fortune and her brother Johnny Fortune, who live with their families at lands at Carrigeenshinnagh, Lough Dan, in Roundwood, claim the buildings are exempt from planning permission and their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights have not been considered.

The case arises after Wicklow County Council initiated proceedings in 2009 against the Fortunes under section 160 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, in which the council claimed the structures were unauthorised.

Last year Circuit Court Judge Doirbhile Flanagan granted the council orders requiring Katie Fortune to demolish and cease occupation of the chalet, mobile homes, a chicken coop and a caravan on the site.

Judge Flanagan also ordered the removal of decking and a patio, and directed the lands be reinstated to their prior condition.

Katie and Johnny Fortune were also ordered to demolish and cease using for human habitation a garden shed on the lands, and from using the land for parking, keeping and maintaining cars.

The Fortunes have appealed those orders to the High Court and their counsel, Conleth Bradley, argued yesterday the council had failed to establish the structures were not exempt from planning permission and was therefore not entitled to orders requiring his clients demolish buildings on lands they had resided at for many years.

In an affidavit, Katie Fortune said she had lived on the site since 1999 with her two children and had cared for her late mother who owned the lands in question. The council’s proceedings were misconceived and the various structures had been on the site for a considerable period before her arrival on the lands, she said.

In his affidavit, Johnny Fortune said the buildings he was directed to remove were exempted developments. The shed had not been used for human habitation, as claimed, but for storage. Cars were kept on the site by his son for restoration but were removed some time ago.

In reply, Damian Sheridan, for the council, said three applications on behalf of Katie Fortune for retention of the chalet were refused by the council on grounds including the structures amount to sporadic development in a rural area, contrary to the Wicklow County Development plan.

The case before Mr Justice Gerard Hogan resumes next week.