Man told to flatten garden cabin

Man told to flatten garden cabin
Paul Cullen

A Dublin man claims South Dublin County Council is trying to make him homeless by insisting he demolishes a log cabin in his back garden in which he is currently living.

Tony Stirrat from Lucan is renting out the main house in which he has lived for the past 20 years because, he says, he needs the rental income to help defray the increased costs of a €120,000 mortgage on the house.

“I’ve nowhere to live. I’m just doing what I have to do to survive,” he told The Irish Times. “There are lots of cabins like mine around Lucan and everywhere else and they don’t have planning permission].”

Last month, the council refused Mr Stirrat retention permission for a single-storey prefabricated timber dwelling to the rear of his house in Abbeydale Close in Lucan. He had earlier been served with an enforcement notice requiring the removal of the 31sq m structure.

The council ruled that the cabin was out of character for the area, would depreciate the value of properties in the vicinity and would set an undesirable precedent.

Mr Stirrat, who runs a boiler maintenance company, separated from his partner six years ago and his business suffered in the aftermath. He sought a mortgage from a number of mainstream providers to buy out his partner but was refused. Then subprime lender Start Mortgages agreed to give him a mortgage.

He says he used the money to become sole owner of the main house and provide a financial injection to get his business going again. However, the recent rise in mortgage interest rates placed him under financial pressure and he came up with the idea of building a chalet in the back garden and renting out his house.

The cabin cost €10,000 and Mr Stirrat spent €13,000 fitting it out. He did the plumbing and electrics himself and even installed a jacuzzi. He describes the living arrangement as open plan.

Mr Stirrat has rented out his house for €1,200, which goes a long way towards paying his monthly mortgage repayments of €1,614. He hopes to move back into the house eventually, when a high street mortgage provider agrees to give him a cheaper loan.

The case highlights the legal uncertainty surrounding back-garden structures, which are becoming increasingly popular as houseowners opt to extend their living space rather than go to the expense of moving house. While the structure itself may be an exempted building, its use for commercial purposes or as a public space or habitable dwelling usually needs planning permission.

© 2007 The Irish Times

‘The cabin cost €10,000 and Mr Stirrat spent €13,000 fitting it out. He did the plumbing and electrics himself and even installed a jacuzzi’

Me thinks it isnt ur normal garden variety (ohh bad pun!) shed / cabin

I was wondering what the big wooden yoke out the back was…

Hang on , he has lived here for 20 years . that means he bought the house in the late 80s. 25 -30 year mortgages were common back then , no ?
His mortgage should be much lower than 120K.

He probably bought his ex-wife out of her half.

This raises my libertarian hackles a tad. If a guy feels he wants to live in his back garden, and he’s not playing loud music, causing a smell, or structurally damaging any other person’s property, then I hate any state body having the power to interfere with his life.

The Irish planning industry has been proven to have come to hundreds of deeply corrupt decisions. Taken as a whole, Dublin is massively deviant from the correct planning outcome, due to corruption.

Now, despite the fact that proper planning is permanantly destroyed in Dublin, they want to flatten the place where this man lives.

If it had been a garden shed, it’d be untouched. But as it contains a person instead of a lawnmower, it has to go.

Victimless crime?

Its a great example of what lengths Irish people will go to keep a property. In a sane world he would just sell up, probably have 250k in cash and rent. The interest on his cash pile would cover most of his rent, but instead he goes all Grizzly Adams.

No… in a sane world he would have pocketed the cash and moved to Thailand and spent it all on Hookers and coke

This place has been for sale for years for €120,000

It’s even been the subject of articles in the US as a sign of what “those crazy Irish” get up to. … _n16014405

How is it allowed to stand, and this guy’s presumably much larger and more comfortable structure has to go?

We’re talking about a log cabin here, not a garden shed.
Something tells me this guys new home is bigger and more comfortable than some of the houses the the council provides to it’s social housing “clients”.

As for devaluing existing properties. Surely a reposession does that anyway.

I don’t see the precedent this guy is setting causing a mad rush to build log cabins and rent them out, but even if there is a fear of that, It shouldn’t take much wit to come up with a law that says that the owner of a property can build a log cabin in his back garden and live in it (subject to it being safe), but that he can’t rent it out to others to live in it.

I don’t see there being a huge demand to live in a log cabin while someone else enjoys the comforts of your Semi-D in Lucan.


Probably the legislation with the most extraordinary effects - including monetary effects is that concerning protected structures.
Buildings which were worth millions before being granted protected structures are literally worth negative sums because the liabilities and restrictions on them are so high. One can’t paint a wall without Planning (or at least a declaration of exemption).

Quick reminder to posters in general to keep in mind when dealing with real issues effecting real peoples troubles to make comments accordingly. We are not here to ridicule nor specifically judge.

Right my point, I thought there was a recent precedent ruling on a similar set up in the Fingla Co.Council area and surely he could challange this. Its on the board deep in some thread.

If memeory serves me well I think it was in Blanchardstown with a similar habitable back garden shed and the ruling was in favour of the owners.

Anybody remember that??

This guy seems to have gotten past planning issues.

Its not the first time I’ve seen this place on Daft

Looks like a sauna.

Non smoker. :laughing:

Windows are for losers.

How is that place legal? Surely it needs windows you can escape from in case the place catches on fire?

It strikes me that this bloke has a great job and should have made lots of money in Celtic Tiger Ireland. How does he have to pay 1600 a month on a 120k mortgage ? Are sub prime mortgage repayments THAT aggressive ?

He’s a brave man to erect that around there… Non smoker is as maybe, someone might light it up for him!!! :open_mouth: