THIRTY-seven homeowners in an upmarket housing estate where properties sell for more than €1m have no legal title to the driveways into their posh homes.
A judge yesterday heard the residents will encounter considerable difficulty selling their homes because they don't have a legally binding right-of-way to the estate.
The shocking absence of legal title to the access roads to Elton Court in Dublin's Sandycove came to light when Ronbow Management Company Limited, the management company that runs the estate with and for the residents, tried to block a local vegetable sales man parking his delivery van in sight of their plush properties.
Niall Beirne, counsel for Tommy Byrne who used to grow his veggies on the plots where the multi-million-euro Elton Court now stands, said the residents claimed the delivery van lowered the tone of the area.
He said that after retiring Tommy had been forced through pressure from the residents to get rid of the offending van and buy a car for himself and his wife Philomena, both of whom have lived for 35 years at 4 Breffni Terrace, Sandycove, alongside the relatively new Elton Court development.
Tommy and Philomena took an action in the Circuit Civil Court seeking a declaration that they were entitled to park their car in Breffni Lane, close to their mews home along which they had access and parking long before Elton Court had been developed.
Mr Beirne said Sorahan's, the developers, had granted them a licenced spot to park their delivery van or car in Elton Court where the residents now leave their bins but his clients, who were elderly, had been unable to continuously walk the 185 metres to and from this parking spot.
They maintained they were entitled to park their car beside their home which was disputed by Ronbow Management Company Limited. Mrs Byrne told the court that residents had visited her home when her husband Tommy had been upstairs ill and had threatened to stay put until the vehicle was moved.
Suzanne Boylan, counsel for the company and the residents, told the court the defendants were unable to consent to the Byrne's obtaining an easement to park because of the difficulty with legal title to rights of way on access roads to the estate.
She said the lack of legal title was causing the residents serious problems and they would have difficulty selling their homes without full right of way title.
Judge Justice Esmond Smyth said the residents had no alternative but to take the steps they had done because they could not be seen to consent to this matter without the court's intervention.