Tuesday 19 August 2008

Flatley’s 9,100 sq ft island idyll rejected by planners

PLANS by dancer Michael Flatley to build a "modest" holiday retreat covering more than 9,000 square feet of a Co Kerry island have been rejected.

Kerry County Council yesterday refused planning permission for a proposal to build a cottage several times larger than an average family home on Rossmore island in Kenmare Bay.

The Lord of the Dance star had already scaled back plans for a 70,000 sq ft mansion, but planners decided the smaller proposal was out of character with the “sensitive” landscape of the area.

Flatley (50) had proposed an L-shaped one-and-a-half storey building, of 9,100 sq ft, to include a guest wing, staff quarters, central fountain, garage and playroom.


Described as “a modern interpretation of a traditional thatched cottage”, it was to be located at the island’s eastern edge and would be entered by a private laneway and would only be visible from the water. Among the project’s supporters were former Mayor of Kerry, Michael Healy-Rae.

Kerry Councty Council planners rejected the scheme on the grounds of its “design, scale and bulk, on an elevated, open and exposed site”.

It was also refused because the design was not “sympathetic” to the building it was to replace and would contravene the country development plan.

The planning authority also raised concerns about whether effluent could be adequately disposed of at the site.

“The proposed development would, therefore, be prejudicial to public health,” it added.

Flatley, who made his name with Riverdance, already owns Castlehyde House near Fermoy, Co Cork, which he restored at a cost of €50m. The restoration of the former home of Ireland’s first president, Douglas Hyde, has been hailed as the most impressive privately-funded project ever undertaken in the country. Flatley also has homes in Barbados, Chicago, France and London.

The decision can be appealed, and if it eventually gets the goahead Flatley’s neighbours would include the Smurfit family who have had a holiday home near Rossdohan in the Ring of Kerry and car importers the O'Flahertys.

Rossmore is only a few minutes’ drive from the gourmet attractions of Kenmare, Sneem and Parknasilla by bridge.

Paul Melia and Olivia Kelleher
Irish Independent


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