THE change of the colour of two roofs in Dooradoyle from ‘brown’ to red has become a grey area for local planners, who have called in the national planning authority to decide on the unusual case.
Two home-owners in Dooradoyle who painted their roofs red – and maintain it was the original colour – have been warned of the possibility of a court appearance by the local authority, who queried whether they had planning permission for this “development”.
The warning letters have been sent to the neighbouring home owners in St Nessan’s Park, stating that they could face fines of up to €12m in court if successful enforcement orders are taken against them because they did not apply for planning permission.
The case has now come before An Bord Pleanala’s inspectors, who are due to decide this May on whether the change in colour to the roofs of houses No 5 and No 6 St Nessan’s Park, is a development that required permission from the local authority, or is exempted from the planning process.
A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council’s planning office said that a planning officer was in the area and saw that the colour of the roofs “was totally out of character with the area, a very bright orange-y red colour and found that there was no record of permission.” The council sent the owners a warning letter each in October last, stating that this was an “unauthorised development”, and to give them an opportunity to state their case. The council had asked them to respond regarding the “purported offence” within four weeks of the warning letter. It warned that in the event of a court case they could be liable to a fine not exceeding €12,697,380.28, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both. Furthermore, in the event of a successful enforcement order in court, taken by the council, they would be also be liable to cover the legal costs.
In reply, Patrick and Mary Mullins, of No 5, told the council that the works undertaken by them included cleaning and repainting the slates on their roof. “The original colour of the slates was red and this was clear once moss and other debris had been removed,” they stated, in their brief reply.
“The works in question are exempted development in accordance with Section 4 (1) (h) of the Planning and Development Act 2000. Any proceedings by the council will be strenuously defended and this letter will be used in evidence in relation to any question regarding costs arising.” The other occupant is Eamon Murphy next door, who is also listed as an owner/occupier.
The council spokesperson said that when they tried to ascertain the original colour, through Google Maps, they found that there was a “tinge of red” in one corner of the roof, but said that the colour of the roofs was largely brown and it is now “in complete contrast with the rest of the area.” While the sudden swash of red across the Dooradoyle skyline caught the planner’s attention, no residents nearby have complained about the colour. Should An Bord Pleanala find that any change in colour requires planning permission, there is an option of applying for permission or repainting the roof its original colour. Failing to comply they require an enforcement order by the council.