Spectacular Atlantic home faces demolition threat

The unfinished house at Omey.

A spacious house with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean – being built without planning permission on the picturesque, uninhabited Omey Island – could face a demolition order from Galway County Council.

The three-bed, one-and-a-half storey property is partially-completed and is the subject of an Enforcement Notice from the Council since last November.

However, its owner sought planning permission in April to retain what had been built, but subsequently withdrew the application at the beginning of this month.

Therefore, the Enforcement Notice stands – it ordered that work immediately cease on the site and the house be demolished within 28 days and the grounds be reinstated.

It also warns that if the work is not carried out, it can be done by the Council, which would then recover its expenses.

Peter Fitzsimons, of Poplar Grove Farm in Surrey, England, had sought permission to retain the unfinished house measuring around 2,000 square feet, which has been built at Surrakeen.

There was originally a roofless derelict cottage on the site, and in 2006, Mr Fitzsimons was granted permission for a renovation and extension of the building, which would extend to around 1,100 sq ft.

He has owned the farmhouse ruins and around 30 acres of land on the uninhabited island since 2002. It was his intention to renovate the old cottage, but this was not structurally possible according to engineers’ reports submitted with the application.

A report carried out by Lloyd, Herbert and Jones Chartered Surveyors reads: “The remaining walls have been exposed to the weather elements and water has eroded away the earth/pointing and the integrity of the remaining walls are in question as to their ability to take a structural load. They are therefore incapable of supporting the new structure.

“Peter has certain health and mobility problems which necessitate ramps and extra wide doorways. Any old building will prover difficult to implement current building regulations. In view of Peter’s ongoing health situation, layout changes would have to be made to accommodate same.”

According to a report submitted with the application, the new house under construction is being built 4.3 metres adjacent to the former house and is around one metre (90cm) higher.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.