Dolores O’Riordan

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HER distinctive Limerick lilt might have made her a star, but planners claim Dolores O’Riordan hasn’t lingered long enough in her native county to qualify as a local.

The former lead singer with the Cranberries has hit a snag in her plans to build a lavish contemporary house and stables in Kilmallock, a rural town 40km from Limerick city. Citing local rules, residents claim that she has severed her ties with the area and should not be allowed to build a one-off home in their sleepy community.

Following a string of objections by residents of Kilmallock, planners from Limerick county council have asked O’Riordan to clarify that she has lived locally for at least 10 years and that she intends to use the proposed property as her primary home. They have also asked her to produce evidence that she is in the process of selling her current dwelling and to confirm that she hasn’t built a house before in Co Limerick.

O’Riordan, divides her time between a log cabin in Ontario, Canada, where her husband, Don Burton, comes from, and Howth, Co Dublin. She bought Riversfield Stud, a sprawling, 150-acre farm in Kilmallock in 1998. She remained in the property for six years before selling it and most of the surrounding land for ?†4.5m in 2004 saying she needed to move to Dublin for career reasons.

She currently lives in the Thormanby Woods development in Howth but recently applied for planning permission to construct a state-of-the-art hilltop pad on a 2.5-acre site on upmarket Ceanchor Road in Howth, where neighbours include Feargal Quinn. She paid ?†2m for the sea-front site in 2004 and plans to build a contemporary 4,500-sq-ft mansion with a pool, sauna, and gym.

Residents of Kilmallock, some of whom have been refused planning permission for one-off homes on their land, claim that the house on a two-acre site will be built ‘for financial gain’ and that O’Riordan’s visiting entourage will ruin their ‘quiet and beautiful road’. While living in Riversfield Stud, the pop star maintained a large security personnel.

Chris Hargreaves and Annette Hayes, who bought a 0.75-acre site from O’Riordan when she was selling her stud farm, said in their objection that the singer assured them that the two-acre site she is currently trying to develop would only be used as agricultural land.

‘This information had a huge influence on our decision to purchase our property as it afforded beautiful views and is a perfect complement to what is in its present state an extremely well-balanced and harmonious area of natural beauty.’

The couple are also sceptical of O’Riordan’s claims that she intends to use the property as her permanent base. ‘There was a previous application for three dwelling houses on the site which was rejected by Limerick county council,’ they said. ‘We therefore feel it is highly unlikely that the Burtons would intend to reside in the property, should planning be approved. This refutes their claim that the property is ?€?needed’ or required for personal use.’

Luke Lillington, the owner of Mount Coote stud nearby, said: ‘They [Burton and O’Riordan] moved to Dublin in 2004 mentioning that life was ?€?too quiet’ here. My belief is that the proposal is for further financial gain and not personal use.’

He also questioned the size of the adjoining stables. ‘I wonder where the horses will be kept outside of stabling as the area of land is very small relative to the area of stabling. There is also no mention of a manure pit. How will this affect the water supply?’

In a letter accompanying her planning application O’Riordan stated that she was ‘born and reared in Grange, Kilmallock, Co Limerick’ and that she has family in the area.

Gerry Sheeran, a senior planner with Limerick county council, said the latest county development plan sets out the criteria for building in an area with a strong agricultural base.

‘Applicants should be long-term residents, preferably resident before 1990 or should be involved in essential local activities, for example the local teacher or doctor,’ he said.

‘Someone can qualify on all counts but if they don’t need a house in the countryside, then we take a dim view.’

O’Riordan’s architect, Wesley Stanhope, would not comment on the couple’s plans for the Kilmallock site.

Source: The Sunday Times, ZG

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