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Gardai stop trees being felled at leafy Rathgar development

  • Neighbours step in amid row over 'underhand tactics'

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Trees were cut at the front of number 37a Highfield Road

Trees were cut at the front of number 37a Highfield Road

Trees were cut at the front of number 37a Highfield Road

Gardai were called to intervene in a tree-felling operation at a luxury development in Rathgar where socialites Monika and Cyril Murray used to live - and veteran crooner Dickie Rock was a neighbour.

Locals stepped in when a team of tree surgeons arrived at 37a Highfield Road last Saturday morning, and started cutting down trees at the front of the property.

They have accused the developer of "underhand tactics" by working during the bank holiday or early in the morning while Dublin City Council offices are closed, meaning officials could not be contacted.

Number 37a was recently demolished and redeveloped, and the planning file says planning permission was granted on condition that certain mature trees be adequately protected during construction.

Appalled

Local sources say the residents managed to halt the tree felling by showing the file to a site foreman, but there was a further intervention on Tuesday when tree surgeons arrived and started work again.

Witnesses claimed the workers started to cut down a tree at the front of the house and gardai were called again.

"They first arrived at 8am on the Saturday of a bank holiday, but couldn't carry out all their work because there was other work associated with the site going on," said one resident.

"And then, having been told to stop their actions, another crew arrived at 8am on Tuesday. We had to call the gardai and if it wasn't for them they would have just carried on.

"We are appalled at the manner in which this was approached - coming in on a bank holiday. It was underhand and shows a lack of respect for people in the area."

Local Green Party councillor Carolyn Moore was contacted by concerned residents and she has now made representations to the city council in a bid to have the matter resolved.

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Trees cut at the front of No 37A Highfield Road

Trees cut at the front of No 37A Highfield Road

Trees cut at the front of No 37A Highfield Road

"I got the planning enforcement section involved and they have spoken to the developer and tree surgeon, and it is my understanding there is to be a meeting between parks, planning and the developer in the coming days, but the work has halted for the moment," she said.

The property has been developed by a company called Seabren Developments with directors Michael and Tina Moran. The Moran family are also behind the Red Cow Hotel development.

The Herald tried to contact Seabren for comment but no answer was received.

Dublin City Council said in a statement: "This matter is the subject of an active investigation.

"Works have ceased on site and we have written to the developer requesting further information."

Ballroom

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Veteran singer Dickie Rock was a neighbour of 37a after the property was split in two

Veteran singer Dickie Rock was a neighbour of 37a after the property was split in two

Veteran singer Dickie Rock was a neighbour of 37a after the property was split in two

The original, unusual house at 37a was built in the 1980s as an extension to Victorian number 37 when it was owned by restaurateur Oliver Caffrey.

It was designed with a swimming pool on the ground floor and ballroom on the top floor, which was accessed by a lift.

Number 37 was then sold and split in two. The main house was bought by singer Dickie Rock, and the extension was bought by Cyril and Monika Murray.