Irish rugby star Robbie Henshaw is having to tackle a problem as big as this summer’s Lions tour to South Africa closer to home as the player has become embroiled in a planning row over a gym he erected in the back garden of his Dublin home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A neighbour of the Ireland and Leinster centre has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála over what she claims are unauthorised developments at Henshaw’s home in Clonskeagh.
Planning files show Henshaw (aged 27) sought retrospective planning permission for a garden shed and a covered side passage at his two-storey, semi-detached house after Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council issued him with enforcement proceedings last December.
A spokesperson for the player said Henshaw had built the shed as a gym where he could “carry on training” during various lockdowns over the past year.
The council granted him retention permission for the garden shed and covered side passage on condition they are not used for habitable accommodation but the decision is now being appealed by Henshaw’s next door neighbour who also objected to his separate plans for an attic conversion.
Council planners said the shed, which measures 11.3m² in area and 2.7m in height, was “relatively modest in scale”, while the covered storage area was acceptable.
However, Henshaw’s neighbour claims the original grant of planning permission for the houses contained a specific condition that no other developments could be carried out on the properties without separate approval from the council in order to ensure a reasonable amount of open space was retained for occupants.
The council claims Henshaw’s property has the required amount of open space to comply with planning guidelines.
Last week, An Bord Pleanála upheld the council’s decision to approve the attic conversion and dismissed the neighbour’s appeal which objected to a proposed dormer window which she claimed would overlook her back garden and reduce the value of her property.
In her latest appeal, the neighbour claims the two unauthorised sheds are not allowed because An Bord Pleanála considered such structures would result in overdevelopment in small gardens.
A planning consultant acting for the neighbour said she was concerned that the shed was “a metal, industrial style structure, which is likely to permit uncontrolled noise breakout”. The board was informed that the woman was concerned the shed would impact negatively on the enjoyment of her own home and garden.
“The use of the rear garden shed as a workshop, office or gymnasium where loud noise or music may break out needs to be considered when accessing this application,” the consultant said.
The neighbour urged the board to refuse planning permission for the shed but asked it to impose a limit on noise levels from the structure if it did not uphold her appeal.
An Bord Pleanála is expected to issue a ruling in the case by August 26.