Re. IGS objection to proposed development at Honeybrook Cottage, Church Road, Delgany, Co. Wicklow; Planning ref. 22686; 13th July 2022
This planning application proposes the demolition of Honeybrook Cottage, a single storey house lying within the Delgany Architectural Conservation Area and adjoining Malvern House, a protected structure, and in its place the construction of a 4-storey mixed use building that would include retail/office units and residential apartments.
The Irish Georgian Society contends that this development proposal would have a significant detrimental impact on the setting of Malvern House and on the distinct character of the Delgany ACA.
Malvern House, protected structure
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage records that Malvern House was built c.1800 as a dower house for the La Touche family and was later converted and extended to become a hydropathic establishment and subsequently divided into two private homes. The building is categorised as being of Regional significance for its Architectural and Social interest and is included in the Record of Protected Structures in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2016-2022 and in the Greystones, Delgany and Kilcoole Local Area Plan 2013-2019.
It is not apparent from the planning application what the historic relationship between Malvern House and Honeybrook Cottage is but, given their physical proximity, it would appear the structures are intrinsically linked. The Irish Georgian Society would therefore recommend that Wicklow County Council requests that an historic buildings appraisal be undertaken by the applicants to provide a fuller understanding of this.
Notwithstanding this, it is clear that the development proposals would have a very considerable impact on the character and setting of Malvern House, a factor that has not been addressed by the applicants as is provided for in the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2011) which state:
13.8.1 When dealing with applications for works outside the curtilage and attendant grounds of a protected structure or outside an ACA which have the potential to impact upon their character, similar consideration should be given as for proposed development within the attendant grounds…
This reinforces the need for the applicants to provide a historic buildings appraisal as suggested and that this considers the impact of the proposed new building on Malvern House.
Architectural Conservation Area (ACA)
The Delgany ACA is comprised of a mix of structures of different uses and styles which collectively lend a distinct character to the village. It is noted that the following objectives for ACAs are described in the Greystones, Delgany and Kilcoole Local Area Plan 2013-2019:
- Development will be controlled in order to protect, safeguard and enhance the special character and environmental quality of ACAs.
- The buildings, spaces, archaeological sites, trees, views and other aspects of the environment that form an essential part of the character of an ACA will be protected.
- The design of any development in an ACA, including any changes of use of an existing building, shall preserve and/or enhance the character and appearance of the ACA as a whole.
- Schemes for the conservation and enhancement of the character and appearance of an ACA will be promoted.
In proposing the demolition of an existing single storey house that makes a valued contribution to the character of the ACA and in planning the construction of a 4-storey mixed-use structure in its place, it seems apparent that no consideration has been given to these criteria by the applicant.
It is furthermore noted that Architectural Conservation Area Objective B18 in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2016-2022 recommends against the demolition of existing buildings:
Within Architectural Conservation Areas, all those buildings, spaces, archaeological sites, trees, street furniture, views and other aspects of the environment which form an essential part of their character, as set out in their character appraisals, shall be considered for protection. The repair and refurbishment of existing buildings within the ACA will be favoured over demolition/new build in so far as practicable.
Given that the demolition of Honeybrook Cottage would diminish the heritage interest of the Delgany ACA and that the setting of Malvern House would be considerably compromised by this development, the Irish Georgian Society respectfully urges Wicklow County Council to refuse permission for this planning application.
Executive Director IGS