Pat Kenny objects to apartment block next to his Dalkey home

Site was also at centre of controversial legal row involving broadcaster and then neighbour in 2006

The broadcaster Pat Kenny and his wife Kathy are opposing plans for three apartment blocks and seven houses on a site adjacent to their Dalkey home.

In August, property firm, Bartra Capital Property - founded by developer Richard Barrett - paid €3.1m for the Maple Tree House site adjacent to the Kennys' home and also bought a separate and adjoining 0.51 acre site.

The planning application for the redevelopment of the south Dublin site lodged last month with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council would involve demolition of Maple Tree House and the construction of 26 units, including 19 apartments in three blocks ranging up to four storeys, as well as seven houses - five three bedroomed homes and two semi-detached.

Architects for the scheme said that great care has been taken to protect privacy between the proposed units and the existing houses.


However, the Bartra plan is meeting local opposition with 11 objections lodged by locals in addition to the Kenny's objection which runs to 16 pages. It points out that their home The Anchorage abuts the subject site and that the proposed development is not in compliance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

If permitted the development “would detrimentally impact on The Anchorage” and other residential properties in the area, it adds.

“It would also set a precedent that could ultimately seriously damage the character of the area.”

The Kennys state too that the proposed development would materially contravene the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council Development Plan’s policies and objectives for the subject site “and would have a detrimental impact on its character”.

They state that planning permission should be refused as “this development is ill-thought and appears based on the quest for density alone with scant other consideration”.

The Kennys submission adds: “We have no desire to object to every development proposal, but we seek only to have appropriate development in terms of scale and function.”

Housing crisis

They acknowledge Ireland is undergoing a housing crisis and say it is incumbent to realise the development potential of serviced-residentially zone land. "However, as outlined clearly in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Development Plan, any densification of brownfield lands must be balanced with respect for the receiving environment of established residential properties.

The Kennys are opposing the plan on a number of grounds - density, scale and massing, design, traffic impact, impact on trees and habitat and residential amenity.

They state that the proposed development will result in gross overlooking along with loss of light and loss of privacy of The Anchorage.

“The duplex apartments at the end of the site overlook The Anchorage and any roof terrace or window would be less than 15 metres from our daughter’s bedroom window and 19 metres from our bedroom window”.

They point out that the ground level of The Anchorage is 3.5 metres below the ground level of the Duplex Apartment block G&H. “On our outdoor dining patio, we would be facing a construction with a roof line some 11 metres above us, denying us light and privacy.”

The Kennys state the loss of light on their property that would result from the proposal “would be disastrous”.

The Kennys also say the proposal, which would result in the removal of numerous trees, would be seriously injurious to the amenities of the area and depreciate the value of property in the vicinity.

Consultants for Bartra Capital Property say the development will not have an adverse impact on residential amenities or views from the wider area and has an attractive design.

They have told the county council the seven houses are modest in size for the area. They state the 19 apartments are generous in size and will provide an attractive and sustainable alternative for many residents in the area particularly empty nesters wishing to downsize from larger family homes but wanting to remain in the area.

Legal row

The consultants told the council too that the development will see an increase to density of around 43 units per hectare “which will deliver a more sustainable return on zoned, serviced and accessible land within an established suburban location”.

The proposal has been reduced to 26 units arising from concerns raised by planners at a pre-planning meeting, they add.

A decision is due on the application before the end of this month.

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 Mr Kenny over a 0.2-acre rocky outcrop adjoining their homes.

In 2006 Mr 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 Mr Kenny said that the purchase was “expensive,” but it secured his family’s “privacy and security”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times