Planning spat | 

Paul Galvin and presenter Louise Duffy in row with neighbours over home extension

A group called Concerned Residents of Leeson Village and Leeson Park Avenue in Ranelagh is one of two parties to have lodged an appeal

Louise Duffy and husband Paul Galvin

Seán McCárthaighSunday World

Former Kerry GAA star Paul Galvin and his wife, former Today FM presenter Louise Duffy, have become embroiled in a planning row with their neighbours over a proposed extension to their home in Dublin.

A group called Concerned Residents of Leeson Village and Leeson Park Avenue in Ranelagh is one of two parties to have lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Dublin City Council to grant planning permission to the couple to build an extra storey on top of their bungalow home.

The local authority approved an application by Galvin and Duffy to raise the roof of their existing house in Leeson Village to create new first floor accommodation comprising three bedrooms.

The couple, who have lived in Leeson Village since 2013, claimed the house functioned for them as a younger couple but it struggled to support the daily demands of their current situation as a family with two young children.

While they had looked for more suitable accommodation in the Ranelagh area, the couple said they had repeatedly returned to the prospect of making their existing home work as they had a love for its setting and the area.

Consultants acting for Galvin and Duffy said they were “already woven into the fabric of the local community.”

They said the couple had “on a human level” grown close to several elderly neighbours over the years and had been a source of contact, help and support for many residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.

One neighbour who wrote a letter of support for Galvin and Duffy, described them as “a delightful couple – pleasant, helpful and cheerful.”

The neighbour said getting planning approval for the extension “would benefit all of us in the Village.”

However, consultants for the residents’ group said their clients stood to be significantly affected by the proposed development as the construction of an additional floor would result in the overlooking of the private gardens of adjacent properties with an associated loss of privacy.

“If permitted it would materially and irrevocably alter the character of Leeson Village, resulting in an ongoing negative impact resulting from a considerable reduction in daylight and sunlight for nearby residents,” they added.

The consultants said minor design revisions made by Galvin and Duffy were “wholly insufficient” to overcome the concerns of other residents and the impact of the development remained “totally unacceptable.”

They said the impact would be so severe that it would depreciate the value of other properties in the area.

Local residents also claimed the extension constituted overdevelopment of the site and would be “a visually incongruous pop-up element in the streetscape.”

They stated the bungalows were designed as accessible, one-bedroom houses for “down-sizers, elderly couples and retired single people.”

The residents said the transformation of the property into a three-bed house to accommodate a growing family without sufficient garden space would put undue pressure on the existing communal area.

Council planners ruled there was scope to accommodate such an extension without adversely affecting the character of the area as the couple’s home was at the end of a terrace of bungalows within a gated community.

However, they imposed a condition that the rear eaves of the first-floor extension should be reduced and the layout of the master bedroom be reorganised to reduce any overbearing impact on adjoining properties.

A ruling by An Bord Pleanála in the case is due by the end of November.

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