herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Van Morrison architect tells of 'upset' at neighbours' home plan

Michelle Rocca (right), Van Morrison's wife, leaving the court with her sister Laura
Michelle Rocca (right), Van Morrison's wife, leaving the court with her sister Laura

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.

Professor James Horan told the High Court he wrote a letter on behalf of the Morrisons in 2008 in which he said they were "particularly upset".

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

Validity

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 SC, for the Kavanaghs, on the third day of Ms Morrison's action claiming her neighbours breached an agreement that shrubbery planting carried out as part of the redevelopment of Mount Alverno would not affect the Morrisons' views of Dalkey Island and sound 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 discussions with a number of architects representing the Kavanaghs from 2004, it had been agreed the views would be preserved.

After the Kavanaghs got planning permission in 2007 and construction work started, the Morrisons had a number of concerns about what was happening, including the location of a site office hut in Mount Alverno, certain windows in the redevelopment, and noise from generators.

When a new firm of architects was brought in by the Kavanaghs, Prof Horan became concerned about the bona fides of the new architects.

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 back to a design for a "jagged wall" along the driveway.

Terminated

Prof Horan replied he could not say what happened after this.

Prof Horan 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".

Put to him that there was no binding agreement, and nothing in writing about preserving the views, Prof Horan said he had a verbal agreement made with previous architects representing the Kavanaghs.

The case continues.

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