Wife of Dermot Desmond loses D4 planning battle

The wife of billionaire Dermot Desmond has lost her planning battle with model and next door neighbour, Karen Reihill, at one of Dublin 4’s most sought after addresses at Ailesbury Road.

It follows An Bord Pleanála dismissing the appeal lodged by Mrs Pat Desmond against the Dublin City Council decision granting planning permission to Ms Reihill to proceed with a 1,650 sq ft basement plan that has a much larger floorspace than an average three bedroom semi-detached home.

Ms Reihill is married to London based financier Shane Reihill. The Reihills purchased St Peter’s, Ailesbury Road last year for €2.9m.

However, the Reihills last October looked to substantially increase the size of their trophy home on ‘millionaires’ row’ after lodging plans for the basement that comprises two en-suite bedrooms, a playroom and plant room accessed via a lift.

The plan also includes the demolition of an existing two-storey extension above ground and its replacement.

The proposal will allow the Reihills increase the floorspace of their home, a protected structure, to 7,502 sq/ft.

Dublin City Council gave the plan the go-ahead in December. However, plans were put on hold after Mrs Desmond retained top planning consultant, Simon Clear to lodge the appeal to An Bord Pleanala against the decision.

Ailesbury Rd Residents, as observers lodged a submission with the appeals board, concurring with Mrs Desmond’s grounds of appeal.

In a comprehensive appeal lodged on behalf of Mrs Desmond, Mr Clear argued “the basement is likely to penetrate the ground water level and displacement of flooding will occur into adjoining properties”.

He stated: “Given these circumstances, worst case scenarios should be assessed before any decision to grant permission is made. As has been seen throughout the country in December 2015, it is too late to react after planning permission has been granted and put into effect. Therefore, the precautionary principle should apply."

Mr Clear added: “Particularly, a residential basement should not be tolerated under any circumstances and no basements should be allowed in residential conservation areas or near protected structures.”

Wife of Dermot Desmond loses D4 planning battle

In the appeal, Mr Clear further stated "the proposed development is unacceptable in the absence of a revised flood risk assessment".

But planning inspector Hugh Morrison ruled the the proposal would not be subject to any appreciable flood risk.

However, in its formal order, the appeals board has found the Reihill plan would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities of the area and would be in accordance with proper planning and sustainable development.

The board made its decision having regard to the policies and provisions of the Dublin City Development Plan 2011–2017; the planning history of the site; the nature and scale of the proposed development and the established character and pattern of development in the vicinity of the site.

At appeal stage, the Reihills’ consultants carried out site investigations and confirmed that there was no stream underneath the site and that displaced ground water would flow to the River Dodder while also finding that any increase in the ground water level would be negligible.


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