Homeowner challenges council’s bid to acquire property

Waterford City and County Council placed compulsory purchase order on house over a year ago

Peter Paul Keenan  says he knew nothing about the CPO until September 2020. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Peter Paul Keenan says he knew nothing about the CPO until September 2020. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The owner of a house allegedly subject of complaints by residents because of its state of repair and overgrown garden has brought a High Court challenge to the local council’s moves to acquire the property.

Peter Paul Keenan owns a house at the Grange, John’s Hill, Waterford, on which Waterford City and County Council placed a compulsory purchase order (CPO) more than a year ago.

Mr Keenan, who says he has lived at Abbey Field, Clonard, Co Meath, for the last 16 years, says he knew nothing about the CPO until September 2020.

He discovered the council had been sending CPO notices to a former address of his in Waterford and to another in Dublin.

The notices were returned to the council as undelivered, he says in an affidavit.

Mr Keenan says he last rented the property in 2015 but the tenants terminated the lease following complaints from a neighbour which Mr Keenan did not accept.

Stay granted

Mr Keenan now plans to carry out works to the property so his daughters can live there when they attend Waterford Institute of Technology.

He says he was astonished to discover on September 27th last that the locks had been changed.

He was told by the council the CPO had been initiated because of complaints from the residents’ association. He claims there is no residents’ association and believes the complaints come from one particular resident.

He says he is distraught at the thought the council could acquire his property without having notified him.

Mr Keenan never had any intention of selling it and the CPO is grossly disproportionate and fundamentally unfair, he says.

On Monday, Stephen Dodd BL, for Mr Keenan, was granted leave by Mr Justice Charles Meenan to bring judicial review proceedings seeking to quash the CPO decision. The leave application was made on a one-side only represented basis.

The judge also granted a stay on the CPO proceeding pending further determination but gave the council liberty to vary or remove the stay with seven days notice to the Keenan side.

He returned the case to January.