Architect: Morrisons upset over work

An architect who represented Van Morrison and his wife Michelle during negotiations over the redevelopment of their neighbours’ Dalkey home has said they were “upset” over the work.
Architect: Morrisons upset over work

James Horan told the High Court yesterday he wrote a letter on behalf of the Morrisons in 2008 in which he said they were “particularly upset” and stating all matters before that time had been “for discussion only”.

The letter was sent to new architects representing the Morrisons’ neighbours, Conor and Eileen Kavanagh, who redeveloped their Mount Alverno home at Sorrento Rd and Nerano Rd, Dalkey.

Prof Horan said in the letter that his clients had asked him to question “if the events to date have any validity” and in particular discussions about a minor land swap to facilitate the creation of a new driveway into Mount Alverno.

He was under cross-examination by Esmonde Keane, for the Kavanaghs, on the third day of Ms Morrison’s action claiming that her neighbours breached an agreement that planting carried out as part of the redevelopment would not affect the Morrisons’ views from their Kilross House home.

The Kavanaghs deny there was any such agreement or that such views existed.

Prof Horan told the court that, throughout talks with a number of architects representing the Kavanaghs from 2004, it had been agreed the views would be preserved.

After the Kavanaghs got planning in 2007 and building work started, the Morrisons had concerns about what was happening, including certain windows in the redevelopment and noise from generators.

When new architects were brought in by the Kavanaghs, Prof Horan became concerned about the bona fides of the new architects, particularly as they had agreed a particular window in the redevelopment would be removed but it was not.

Mr Keane put it to Prof Horan that, as a result of the letter questioning what had happened to date, and no land swap having taken place, the Kavanaghs had to go to a design for a “jagged wall” along the drive.

Prof Horan replied he could not say what happened after this. He said his engagement with the Morrisons was terminated in 2008 because he believed “my clients might have preferred someone who might have been more aggressive”.

Prof Horan agreed with Mr Keane that the first “neighbourly gesture” between the parties was when the Kavanaghs allowed the Morrisons to use a second entrance to Mount Alverno, at Nerano Rd, as an access for the purpose of relaying the driveway into Kilross House. He also agreed Mr Kavanagh had allowed workers for the Morrisons store materials in the Kavanagh garage.

The case continues.

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