Wednesday 30 July 2008

Landscaping dispute between brothers adjourned

A DISPUTE between one of the country’s biggest property developers and his brother over contouring and landscaping works at his home has been adjourned to allow an engineer for one of the parties to examine the works.

Michael O’Flynn, MD of O’Flynn Construction, has been taken to court by his brother, Laurence, who alleges that landscaping work at Michael O’Flynn’s house at Kilcrea, Ovens, Co Cork, is not in keeping with the planning permission.

Michael O’Flynn was granted planning permission for the two-storey nine-bay break-fronted house in a mid-19th century neo-classical style by Cork County Council. This was later appealed by Laurence O’Flynn’s wife, Eileen and son, Adrian, to An Bord Pleanála.

An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission but attached a number of conditions, including one that the entrance to the property should be constructed in accordance with the layout of a revised planning submission on a contour plan submitted on March 29th, 2004.

Yesterday at Cork Circuit Court, Judge Patrick Moran heard closing submissions in an application brought by Laurence and Eileen O’Flynn under section 160 of the Planning Act 2000 that the entrance and related landscaping works did not meet the planning permission.

Counsel for Laurence O’Flynn, Ciarán O’Loughlin SC, had told an earlier hearing that the avenue did not comply with the conditions set out by An Bord Pleanála in that it involved a much wider sweep around his client’s property than was sanctioned by the appeals board. Mr O’Loughlin said such a sweep for the avenue had led Michael O’Flynn to landscape the site in such a way as to raise up the contours of the site which was in breach of An Bord Pleanála’s conditions and which reduced their visual amenity.

However, David Sutton SC, for Michael O’Flynn and his wife, Joan, said the landscaping work was substantially in compliance with the conditions of planning and as such was carried out with planning permission.

Judge Moran, who twice visited the site earlier this month, noted that before the landscaping work was done, Laurence and Eileen O’Flynn had a view from their kitchen and living room of rolling fields but that view was no longer available to them due to the landscaping.

Mr Sutton said there was no such thing as a right to a view in planning law and he reiterated his belief that because the landscaping had been substantially in compliance with the planning conditions, it had planning permission.

Describing the case as one of the most upsetting civil matters he had come upon, Judge Moran adjourned the matter until October to allow an engineer for Laurence O’Flynn to examine the landscaping from Michael O’Flynn’s property.

The Irish Times

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