Brian O’Driscoll and Amy Huberman win long-running court battle with next-door neighbours

Golden couple, Brian O’Driscoll and Amy Huberman have emerged victorious in their long-running planning battle with their new next-door neighbours over the upgrade of their new home, writes Gordon Deegan.

This follows An Bord Pleanála giving Brian and Amy the go-ahead to proceed with the revamp of their €1.8m dream home at Palmerston Road in Rathmines, Dublin.

The green light has come for Ireland’s best-known couple more than one year after they lodged plans with Dublin City Council in January 2017.

The Council granted planning permission last July but the plan stalled following next-door neighbours, Donald and Isabel Fitzmaurice, lodging an appeal against the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

However, the appeals board has now dismissed the Fitzmaurice appeal allowing the celebrity couple to call in the builders to start their work.

The appeal lodged on behalf of the Fitzmaurcices complained that the scale of the proposed development and its effect in multiple locations to the Fitzmaurice home “will have an adverse impact on the character and amenity" on his clients’ property.

The revamp of the O'Driscoll/Huberman home includes a new three-storey rear extension to replace the existing “non-original” two-storey extension and a new single storey side and rear extension.

The Fitzmaurices live in the adjoining semi-detached home on the exclusive tree-lined road and consultant Brian O’Donnell stated that the Fitzmaurice property was particularly vulnerable to excessive development on the O’Driscoll/Huberman site “as each metre that the proposed development is higher or longer, immediately curtails the light and amenity of the east fencing open space" of the Fitzmaurice property.

Mr O’Donnell also took issue with a statement by planning consultants for the couple lodged, stating that the Fitzmaurices were consulted throughout the design stages “and are satisfied that appropriate measures have been taken to ensure that the proposal will not result in the dis-amenity to their property”.

In the appeal, Mr O’Donnell stated: “We would like to correct this statement. Whilst some consultation did take place, the applicants in the end, declined to amend their scheme to accommodate the concerns of my clients in relation to the extent of the proposed development.”

However, the appeals board inspector in the case, Karen Hamilton, who recommended that planning be granted, placed little weight on the arguments put forward on behalf of the Fitzmaurices.

In her 18-page report, Ms Hamilton stated that she did not consider that the O'Driscoll/Huberman proposal “would have any significant negative impact on the residential amenity of the residents of any adjoining property”.

Ms Hamilton said that this conclusion was based on the location and orientation of the site and the design and layout of the proposed rear extension.

Ms Hamilton went on to say that “based on the pattern of development in the vicinity and the location and design of the extension, I do not consider the proposed development would have a significant negative impact on the setting of the protected structure or the amenities of the streetscape”.

In its formal order giving the project the go-ahead, the board stated it is considered the proposed development would not seriously injure the residential amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity.

It also found that the proposal would not have a negative impact on the character and setting of a protected structure or the conservation area and would not endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard.

The board concluded: “The proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

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