Developer doubles down in Dalkey with purchase beside Pat Kenny for €3.1m

Bartra Capital Property acquires seven-bedroom property on 0.8 acres by Bulloch Harbour

Maple Tree House site (outlined in red) purchased by Bartra for €3.17million

Maple Tree House site (outlined in red) purchased by Bartra for €3.17million

 

A development firm has redoubled its efforts to develop Dalkey’s Bulloch Harbour with the purchase for €3.17million of a significant property just 200m from the harbour.

Maple Tree House, on just under an acre, was at the centre of a controversial legal row in 2006 when former owners, the late solicitor Gerard Charlton and family, famously went to battle with neighbour and broadcaster Pat Kenny over a 0.2-acre rocky outcrop adjoining their homes.

Now Bartra Capital Property, the investment and development company founded by Richard Barrett, has acquired the seven-bedroom property on 0.8 acres for 40 per cent more than its €2.25 million asking price.

Bartra has had difficulties to date in obtaining planning permission to redevelop its Western Marine site at Bulloch Harbour, and it may plan to demolish the existing 289 sq m (3,110 sq ft) Maple Tree property to develop an exclusive housing scheme in the quiet cul-de-sac location.

The striking mid-century house was originally built for photographer John Hinde, but was owned by the Charltons since 1971. In 2006 Kenny claimed he had acquired ownership of a 0.2 acre rocky outcrop by virtue of adverse possession, otherwise known as squatters’ rights.

The dispute went as far as the High Court until an agreement was reached in April 2008 whereby the Kennys agreed to purchase the plot of land in a deal, which, along with legal fees reportedly cost up to €2 million.

At the time Kenny said that the purchase was “expensive,” but that it secured his family’s “privacy and security”. Following Bartra’s acquisition of Maple Tree House the property may become a development site, although it is likely to face strong local opposition.

Bartra needs to get its plans past Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s planners and then An Bord Pleanála. If Kenny or other neighbours are so inclined they, like other Dalkey residents, may turn to the High Court for a judicial review to further delay development.

While these reviews are not concerned with the substance of planning authorities’ decisions, they assess whether the decision-making process was in accordance with relevant laws.

One such action was employed by individuals nearby against a proposed development beside Dalkey’s Castle Park School, where developer Twinlite was recently granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for a luxury apartment scheme.

After spending 18 months designing the block and progressing through the planning system, the developer said in a public statement that “the use of the judicial review process to halt development is, in our view, a serious problem in the construction industry and one which further points to our planning system being in disarray and not fit for purpose”.

Meanwhile, Bartra is still awaiting the outcome of its An Bord Pleanála appeal to redevelop the former Western Marine buildings located at Bulloch Harbour. Their latest application in December 2017 attracted about 250 objections and was rejected by the council’s planners, a decision that Bartra appealed last March.

Although An Bord Pleanála would normally aim to reach a decision by July, due to widespread delays in the appeals system, Bartra could be awaiting a decision until late September.

In the longer term, would-be buyers of homes in Dalkey’s future new homes developments can expect to pay a premium to offset the developers’ costs associated with long-running planning battles, High Court actions and the financing costs of holding sites for years.