Tuesday 28 August 2007

Firm ordered to rebuild razed convent in only three months

A COMPANY which illegally demolished a 19th-century convent earmarked for preservation has been ordered to rebuild it by next November.

Dublin City Council has instructed developers Kimpton Vale and its principal, Laurence Keegan, to reinstate the Presentation Convent in Terenure after it was razed on November 5 last.

The demolition happened just two weeks after the council began the process of adding it to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS).

But despite already serving an enforcement notice on the company obliging it to rebuild the convent, the council was forced to withdraw it because the title of the property was in doubt. The original enforcement notice obliged Kimpton Vale to rebuild the convent by last March.

However, it later emerged that the property was conveyed to Laurence Keegan in May 2006, meaning another notice had to be served on both the company and Mr Keegan.

Yesterday it appeared that little work had been done on re-instating the convent, which was described as being in "good condition" when sold for €15m in April last year.

But it was demolished the following November -- just weeks after the council began to consider adding it to the record of protected structures.

Bulldozers moved in to demolish the convent at 7am on November 4 and by the time a dangerous buildings officer arrived at 9.30am, so much was razed that the remainder had to be demolished on public safety grounds.

The company also faces legal proceedings because it failed to secure planning permission before demolishing the convent, and may be fined up to €12.7m.

The 1830s convent was part of a three-acre site on Terenure Road West sold for infill development.

Yesterday it emerged the convent would have to be reinstated "to the satisfaction of the planning department of Dublin City Council".

Anyone seeking to demolish a "habitable" building is required to get permission prior to the work being carried out.

A council spokesperson confirmed the building was to be reinstated, but refused to comment further as the matter is now the subject of legal proceedings.

Irish Independent

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