Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby wearnicehats » Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:13 pm

Gardaí to investigate blaze at listed house


A PERIOD house of rare architectural and historical significance in Dublin’s Rathfarnham has been destroyed in a fire.

Gardaí are treating as suspicious the blaze at Marlay Grange, one of the few pristine examples of late Victorian gothic revival architecture in Ireland, and have put a crime-scene boundary at the entrance to the premises.

The house, with its truncated pyramidal roof, was designed by the renowned Dublin architect John McCurdy who also designed Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel.

The listed structure and its 12.4 acres of woodlands next to Marlay Park are owned by the property developer and philanthropist Niall Mellon.

By the time fire and emergency services arrived on the scene on Thursday evening, the blaze was too large to get under control and the roof subsequently fell in, destroying most of the interior.

All that remains of the imposing cut-stone, two-storey, high-roofed structure, dating from the 1870s, are the walls, a Dublin fire brigade spokeswoman said.

Mr Mellon said he and his wife were extremely distressed by the destruction of the property, which they blamed on “a wanton act of vandalism”.

The developer also disclosed that the property was currently uninsured. Angela O’Donoghue, vice-chairwoman of the local Glendoher District Residents Association, said local people had repeatedly complained to the council that there was no security on the site and that the protected gates were constantly being left open. Simple security measures could have stopped this destruction of heritage, she claimed.

The estate was sold by the McGrane family to the British embassy in Dublin for stg£6.4 million in 2000.

The embassy originally received planning permission from South Dublin County Council for extensive remedial work on the property and for a number of outbuildings and chalets on the grounds, intended for use by embassy staff, but the plan was later dropped over security concerns.

The property was then sold by the embassy, at a substantial loss, to Mr Mellon in 2008. A plan by the developer to build a number of executive houses on the estate was rejected recently by the council.

Mr Mellon said yesterday the property had been quietly on the market for some time and was scheduled to be offered for sale publicly in the coming weeks.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage described the house as “a fine and comparatively rare example of a Victorian Gothic country house in the Ruskinian style”.

Architectural conservation officer with South Dublin County Council Irenie McLoughlin said the council would carry out a full inspection of the burnt-out remains early next week.
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby DOC » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:08 am

Why am I not surprised by this? I actually live near this house but this is the first I heard of the fire.

I was aware there have been a number of attempts to develop this site and I did notice, unusually, over the last couple of weeks the gates to Grange Road being left open. On Thursday afternoon there was a lot of smoke in the area (couldn't see where it was coming from) but thought to myself it could only be Marlay Grange.

“A wanton act of vandalism” alright. No fingers pointing, but hope the Gardai investigate fully who was responsible (or behind) the fire.

A few pics here: http://www.colliersjs.com/residential-detail.aspx?id=213
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby thebig C » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:43 am

Well, quel surprise! A building which is inconvenient to a developer burns down........

I am guessing nobody will ever be held to account.

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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby lostexpectation » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:54 am

he' a philanthropist remember
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby DOC » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:05 am

Strange the house was not insured?
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby goneill » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:49 pm

:
Paul Clerkin wrote:I would like to encourage people to be very careful in this thread - it would be very easy to land Archiseek in court.because of a suggestion
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby Mike Kavanagh » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:56 pm

Good Advice:
Speculation and gossip attend almost every major fire.
Archiseek is no place for such dangerous inuendo.
Remember Folks - This stuff is written down!

Know of a case where a business premises fire was immediately decreed to be owner-instigated by all the locals - everybody just knew that so'n'so had had the joint torched for the insurance. He and his family were slagged on this for years and it delayed insurance payments vital to getting him and his employees back to work.
A local young fellow confessed to the arson (with information on the fire that had been withheld) in the course of being investigated by Gardai for other suspicious fire attempts a few years afterwards. Perfectly normal and of 'good' family this little fan of fire apparently roamed the whole neighbourhood on summer nights armed with small bottles of petrol looking for places and vehicles to damage as a sort of holiday hobby being eventually (and literally) caught in the act.
This troubled youth was charged and pleaded guilty to a few fires, including the one in question - but got off lightly enough and underwent therapy of some sort. The case was low-key and a lot more people heard of the the owner's supposed fraud than of the fire-brand's eventual fate.
The owners reputation was, of course, damaged forever and doubtless a few snide comments are made to this day about his supposed insurance job.
But they never made it to the Internet - because it wasn't there at the time!
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby DOC » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:38 pm

Fair point.
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby johnglas » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:37 pm

I've expected much on this blog over the years, but sermons on ethics and morals - struth! (But so true.) Point needs to be made.
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby PVC King » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:41 am

Nobody is suggesting for a second that the owners are in any way involved in the arson; however it would be interesting to see if failure to comply with the set of 'risk improvements' issued by the insurance company led to insurance cover being withdrawn. (i.e. They couldn't afford to carry out the works required or keep the site manned 24*7)

There is an urgent need for local authorities and or fire departments to be notified where important protected structures become unoccupied; regulations should be passed requiring owners to comply with risk assessments prepared by LA's / Fire Departments in situations where owners do not have the working capital to implement compliance on foot of notices then the state should invervene.

With 425,000 people unemployed it is extremely wasteful that the state can't use people crying out for work to guard or carry out urgent repairs to secure sites of this importance and enter a superior first charge on the underlying folio to prevent a vaccuum developing and repay the costs whenever the market bounces back in the medium term.
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby jackwade » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:28 pm

Can someone please clarify for me which house has burnt down?

Is it the big house inside the park with the courtyard attached as suggested by wikipedia?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlay_Park

or is it this large house on the grange road which is not actually visible from the park?
http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=swcypsgg99k7&scene=56731018&lvl=1&sty=b
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby DOC » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:42 pm

The second one.
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby onq » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:44 pm

PVC King wrote:

With 425,000 people unemployed it is extremely wasteful that the state can't use people crying out for work to guard or carry out urgent repairs to secure sites of this importance and enter a superior first charge on the underlying folio to prevent a vaccuum developing and repay the costs whenever the market bounces back in the medium term.


I have often found it wise to admit being clueless - one learns so much - ergo I ask

What is a superior first charge in Irish Law, how would be be entered on a propert ynot owned by the state, why would a vacuum otherwise develop in relation to a provately owned house and how would any of this repay costs - owed to whom - and why would these repayments align with a resurgent market?

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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby PVC King » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:14 am

You should read the provisions of Sections 11 and 32 of the Derelict Sites Act 1990
11.—(1) Where—

[GA] ( a ) in the opinion of a local authority it is necessary to do so, in order to prevent land situate in their functional area from becoming or continuing to be a derelict site, or

[GA] ( b ) a local authority have been directed to do so by the Minister under section 12,

[GA] they shall serve a notice in writing on any person who appears to them to be the owner or occupier of the said land.

[GA] (2) A notice under this section shall—

[GA] ( a ) specify the measures which the local authority or the Minister, as the case may be, consider to be necessary in order to prevent the land from becoming or continuing to be a derelict site,

[GA] ( b ) direct the person on whom the notice is being served to take such measures as may be specified in the notice, and

[GA] ( c ) specify a period (being not less than one month) within which such measures are to be taken; provided, however, the notice shall not have effect until—

[GA] (i) the expiration of fourteen days from the date of service of the notice, or

[GA] (ii) if any representations are made under subsection (3), the date on which the local authority notify the person making such representations that they have considered the said representations.

[GA] (3) Any person who is the owner or occupier of land in respect of which a notice has been served under this section may, within fourteen days from the date of the service of the notice, make such representations in writing as he thinks fit to the local authority concerningthe terms of the notice and the said authority, having considered such representations, may amend or revoke the notice.

[GA] (4) Any person who is the owner or occupier of land in respect of which a notice has been served under this section shall, within the period specified in the notice, comply with the requirements of the notice, or, as the case may be, the notice as amended.

[GA] (5) Where a person on whom a notice under this section has been served does not, within the period specified in the notice or in the notice as amended, as the case may be, comply with the requirements of the notice, the local authority who served the notice may take such steps (including entry on land by authorised persons in accordance with section 30) as they consider reasonable and necessary to give effect to the terms of the notice or the notice as amended, as the case may be, and may recover any expense thereby incurred from the person on whom the notice or the notice as amended, as the case may be, was served and who is the owner or occupier as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

[GA] (6) The carrying out of any works, within the meaning of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Acts, 1963 to 1983, which are specified in a notice or in the notice as amended, as the case may be, under this section shall be exempted development for the purposes of those Acts.

[GA] (7) Any person served with a notice or with the notice as amended, as the case may be, under this section who is the owner of the land in respect of which a notice has been served, and his servants or agents, may enter the land and undertake the measures required to be done under the notice.




Power of court to authorise measures. 32.—(1) If any person served with a notice under this Act is unable, without the consent of some other person, to carry out specified measures which he is required to carry out in order to comply with the provisions of such notice, and such other person withholds his consent to the carrying out of the measures, the person concerned may apply to the District Court in which the notice was served for an order under this section.

[GA] (2) If, on the hearing of an application under subsection (1), the District Court determines that the consent of the other person has been unreasonably withheld, the District Court may, in its discretion deem the consent to have been given and direct the person making the application to carry out the measures.

[GA] (3) It shall be an offence for a person to fail to carry out the measures directed by the District Court under subsection (2).

[GA] (4) If any person served with a notice under this Act is required to carry out, pursuant to this Act, specified measures, and so carries out the measures and such person considers that the cost of such measures should be borne, in whole or in part, by some other person who has an interest in the derelict site, he may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for an order directing that the whole, or such part as may be specified in the order, of the cost of the measures be borne by the other person interested therein; and the court shall make such order on the hearing of the application as it considers just having regard to all the circumstances of the case.


With ignorance of such a basic piece of legislation how can you expect your comment on the regulation of architects to be taken seriously?
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:29 pm

Any more word on this - didn't even see photos of the destruction
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby onq » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:16 pm

PVC King,

Is this a comment from your better half the solicitor again?

There is always someone ready to do down people who have had a bit of bad luck.

I realise that the legal profession are sometimes detached from the real world - hopefully improving all the time - but your application of the Derelact Sites Act is questionable here.

No. 14/1990 is well known but in my opinion may be totally inappropriate in this instance - the full text of the Act is given here.

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1990/en/act/pub/0014/index.html

The house has only recently been burnt - I doubt if its even been assessed yet by any building professionals - its the summer holidays.

The Derelict Sites Act 1990 was brought in to prevent landlords and landowners of delelict sites from leaving these sites in a terrible condition, detrimental to public health and the neighbourhood.

There has been inappropriate use of the powers by a judge so far in my opinion and we await case law as it develops, but the intent of the Act was good.

The Definition is admittedly broad:

Definition of derelict site.

3.—In this section "derelict site" means any land (in this section referred to as "the land in question") which detracts, or is likely to detract, to a material degree from the amenity, character or appearance of land in the neighbourhood of the land in question because of—
[INDENT]
( a ) the existence on the land in question of structures which are in a ruinous, derelict or dangerous condition, or

( b ) the neglected, unsightly or objectionable condition of the land or any structures on the land in question, or

( c ) the presence, deposit or collection on the land in question of any litter, rubbish, debris or waste, except where the presence, deposit or collection of such litter, rubbish, debris or waste results from the exercise of a right conferred statute or by common law.
[/INDENT]

However applying the provisions of this Act to a privately owned burnt building within a month or so of the incident would in my opinion be utterly inappropriate.

----

Just in case the signal is getting lost in the noise:

Architects are competent to comment on all matters in relation to buildings.

Howeer they are seldom cited as experts in relation to matters involving how best to deal with derelection, where the stakeholders are usually community groups and councils.

They hardly ever offer condemnation of potential clients or impose onerous legal weights on them without having at least assessed the building after being appointed.

So to expect anyone on this forum to suggest the Derelict Sites Act is appropriate would be wildly expectant of you PVC King.

But to infer from my lack of mention of the Derelict Sites Act that I didn't know about it would be as inapropriate as suggesting I don't know about the Land Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 or I.S. 3219:1989 - or its successor I.S. 3218: 2009

In your case, your own bold text undermines your suggestion.

( a ) in the opinion of a local authority it is necessary to do so, in order to prevent land situate in their functional area from becoming or continuing to be a derelict site, or

( b ) a local authority have been directed to do so by the Minister under section 12,

they shall serve a notice in writing on any person who appears to them to be the owner or occupier of the said land.


There is as yet no way to form an opinion as to whether this site may become derelect and there is no scintilla of doubt but that the owner, a person of good standing will fail to abide by his duties under the Act.

9.—lt shall be the duty of every owner and occupier of land, including a statutory body and a State authority, to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the land does not become or does not continue to be a derelict site.

Until such doubt arises, any attempts to suggest this act might be appropriately invoked appear to be mischievous at best bordering on malicious at worst and wholly inappropriate - or maybe its just you looking for your best-practice-muppet-of-the-month sticker.

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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby PVC King » Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:32 pm

This is no attempt to have a go at someone down on their luck; I made it perfectly clear above that I was in no way insinuating that the owners wanted this to happen; but it happened because they didn't have the money to properly protect an important piece of built heritage.

In terms of your take on this you are waffling on and not reading what has actually been posted.

11.—(1) Where—

[GA] ( a ) in the opinion of a local authority it is necessary to do so, in order to prevent land situate in their functional area from becoming or continuing to be a derelict site


A vacant house within 2 miles of Whitechurch Estate with no security or insurance could reasonably be construed as being at risk of becoming a derelict site.

The point I was making was that with liquidity as it is there are many protected structures at risk. I have no doubt the banks will be checking that all such properties are insured; to protect the public interest Local Authorities should visit all vacant protected structures that have internal elements specifically protected or vacant structures that form part of a protected terrace or conservation area.

Cider drinkers will get cold and important heritage will be lost where owners do not possess the means to protect their property in times of adverse liquidity conditions. There are no amnesties for burnt building interiors the craftsmen who created them have long since passed on.
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby onq » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:40 am

PVC King wrote:This is no attempt to have a go at someone down on their luck; I made it perfectly clear above that I was in no way insinuating that the owners wanted this to happen; but it happened because they didn't have the money to properly protect an important piece of built heritage.

What, as in provide 24-hour security?
Not affordable,, way over the top and not somethign the Council requires.
In terms of your take on this you are waffling on and not reading what has actually been posted.

Go on, impress me by pointing somethign out that I've missed.
A vacant house within 2 miles of Whitechurch Estate with no security or insurance could reasonably be construed as being at risk of becoming a derelict site.

GEEZ!!! Beat yourself up with a stick, whydon'tyou!
What a terrible slander on teh residents of Whitechurch Estate.

Lookit PVC King, that is a supid thing to say, given the ease of access into Marlay Park from the M50 and the lack fo arson attempts centring on Whitechurch Estate.
You have absolutely no foundation for that remark - none whatsoever.
We don't even know what ccaused the fire yet.
The point I was making was that with liquidity as it is there are many protected structures at risk.

Well I take your point - I'm not going to put you through a wringer on this, but let's face it, no-one can afford security on empty buildings these days.
Marlay Park is well frequented by strollers and even "batwatch groups in the evenings up to around 10:30 pm. in the summer months - its not in the sticks.
I have no doubt the banks will be checking that all such properties are insured; to protect the public interest.

There you go again - the banks don't protect the public interest, only their own interests.
I mean, really - after all that's ahppened since 2008 you'd think you'd have copped on to this by now.
An Taisce or the Council might take a vbiew on this, but if the house is privately owned, thay cannot force someone to take out insurance.
Local Authorities should visit all vacant protected structures that have internal elements specifically protected or vacant structures that form part of a protected terrace or conservation area.

You may have a point there, and this oddly enough relates back to the public interest being served by the Derelict SItes Act.
So in an oblique way, it may indeed be relevant, but it will take a new complelementary law dealing with the built heritage or an expansion of matters covered to make it so.
Cider drinkers will get cold and important heritage will be lost where owners do not possess the means to protect their property in times of adverse liquidity conditions. There are no amnesties for burnt building interiors the craftsmen who created them have long since passed on.


Don't put these guys tradesmen on a pedestal or treat all older buildings as works of art.
Its a fundamental view I have of buildings that they should earn their living and be updated as required with current technology.
I am by temprement and experience, not a conservationist - I suppose I would be an interventionist.
As long as the interirs were well-recorded, they can be replaced to a good standard.

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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby gunter » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:54 am

onq wrote:I am by temprement and experience, not a conservationist - I suppose I would be an interventionist.
As long as the interiors were well-recorded, they can be replaced to a good standard.

ONQ.


Maybe this is why you haven't sat that last exam :)
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby PVC King » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:06 am

onq wrote: What, as in provide 24-hour security?
Not affordable,, way over the top and not somethign the Council requires.

Go on, impress me by pointing somethign out that I've missed..


Mobile patrols after hours; a fraction of the cost but target likely hours towards nighttime; dossers will doss elsewhere and teenage drinkers will be deterred. The caretaker option also would have prevented this; I know at least one park ranger in the park who would have jumped at the opportunity to house sit.

onq wrote: GEEZ!!! Beat yourself up with a stick, whydon'tyou!
What a terrible slander on teh residents of Whitechurch Estate.

Lookit PVC King, that is a supid thing to say, given the ease of access into Marlay Park from the M50 and the lack fo arson attempts centring on Whitechurch Estate.
You have absolutely no foundation for that remark - none whatsoever.
We don't even know what ccaused the fire yet...


I merely pointed out that the house was not in the middle of the country; it had geographic proximity to an area known as having social issues.



onq wrote: Well I take your point - I'm not going to put you through a wringer on this, but let's face it, no-one can afford security on empty buildings these days.
Marlay Park is well frequented by strollers and even "batwatch groups in the evenings up to around 10:30 pm. in the summer months - its not in the sticks.

There you go again - the banks don't protect the public interest, only their own interests.
I mean, really - after all that's ahppened since 2008 you'd think you'd have copped on to this by now.
An Taisce or the Council might take a vbiew on this, but if the house is privately owned, thay cannot force someone to take out insurance. ..



If the guy paid for the house in cleared funds then no-one can force him to cover his risk; I very much doubt that the house wasn't charged and that a condition of the loan would be that the building be insured. In the US many people just hand back the keys, jump in their car and migrate to another state; the bank is then forced to secure the property.

onq wrote: You may have a point there, and this oddly enough relates back to the public interest being served by the Derelict SItes Act.
So in an oblique way, it may indeed be relevant, but it will take a new complelementary law dealing with the built heritage or an expansion of matters covered to make it so.


Don't put these guys tradesmen on a pedestal or treat all older buildings as works of art.
Its a fundamental view I have of buildings that they should earn their living and be updated as required with current technology.
I am by temprement and experience, not a conservationist - I suppose I would be an interventionist.
As long as the interirs were well-recorded, they can be replaced to a good standard.

ONQ.


No-one is pedestalising invidual tradesmen; however the crafts they practiced have either disapeared or modern artisans receive such a premium for the ability to produce a scarce standard of work that once interiors like this go they rarely come back. Look at the cost of restoring Farmleigh; no way the private sector would do that type of project now. What is critical is that houses such as this which are extremely rare are at a minimum limped along until such time as the next crop of entrepreneurs / partners feel confident enough to make a statement through a restoration project.
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Re: Marlay Grange destroyed by fire

Postby onq » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:17 pm

I'm not ignoring you. In general I agree with many of your points.

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