Friday 15 December 2017

Van's wife had a deal with neighbours over views, says architect

Michelle Morrison (left) with her sister Laura at the High Court
Michelle Morrison (left) with her sister Laura at the High Court

An architect said that he reached an agreement with Michelle Morrison's neighbours, who said views from her home would not be affected by redevelopment work on their house in Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Professor James Horan represented Ms Morrison in pre-planning application discussions with architects for the neighbours, Conor and Eileen Kavanagh, the High Court heard.

He was giving evidence on the second day of an action by Ms Morrison - the wife of singer Van Morrison - against the Kavanaghs, in which she alleges they breached an agreement that views from her home of Dalkey Island would be preserved in the redevelopment.

Mr Horan said it was agreed during those discussions that the view would be preserved by leaving the wall at the end of Ms Morrison's garden as it was and that there would be no planting behind the wall.

He said the purpose of the meeting with the Kavanaghs' architect was to ensure there would be no objection from the Morrisons when the planning application was submitted.

Mr Horan said no objection was lodged, but a letter of observation was submitted to the planning authority.

This was done, he said, to ensure that if the planning authority gave permission under certain conditions, then his client would have a right to be included in any subsequent Bord Pleanala appeal process.

In 2005 the Kavanaghs got new architects and Mr Horan had further discussions with them.

However, he said they did not discuss the issue of views because "as far as I was concerned, it was already agreed".

The Kavanaghs were granted planning permission, but it was appealed by some of their other neighbours.

The Kavanaghs then asked Ms Morrison for a letter of support in the appeal and Mr Horan said he discussed it with his client.

It was agreed the planning application had a lot of positive points and it would be desirable to give such a letter, which he said was "fairly unusual" in planning cases.

Asked by Mark Sanfey, senior counsel for Ms Morrison, how the letter of support reflected the relationship between the Kavanaghs and Morrisons, Mr Horan said it "reflected there was an extremely courteous, cordial, friendly and professional relationship".

Earlier, photographer Fionnan O'Connell said he was asked by the Morrisons to take photographs of the view from their garden and kitchen table.

Under cross-examination from Esmonde Keane, senior counsel for the Kavanaghs, he disagreed that the photos in court showed that in the vast majority there was no view of the sea.

Mr O'Connell believed there was a view of the sea when the light was right.


Earlier efforts yesterday to get the entire dispute sent to mediation were unsuccessful.

In her action, Ms Morrison claims the Kavanaghs are in breach of an agreement that the views from her home would not be blocked out at the rear of the Morrisons' Kilross House, Sorrento Road.

The Kavanaghs deny there is any panoramic view or that Ms Morrison is entitled in law to such a view.

The case, which is scheduled to last 10 days, continues.

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