A VERY lengthy renovation project on leafy Wellington Road in D4 has finally concluded. The impressive pile was most closely associated with businessman and one-time restaurateur Peter White, although it was understood to have been the subject of an off-market sale a couple of years ago.
In 2021 the contents of No 1 Wellington Road were auctioned off through Adam’s, including assorted antiques, furniture and artworks such as Louis le Brocquy’s Red Roses For Me, which was snapped up for €10,000. Given the pandemic, the auction was online and featured very limited in-person viewing.
The planning application for the significant renovation was lobbed in immediately after the Adam’s sale was concluded and was submitted in the name of Caitriona O’Flaherty. The job also included the demolition of an existing two-storey extension and its replacement with a substantial three-storey extension (incorporating a third-level mansard roof), comprising new kitchen/dining/family room, study, wine store etc, as well as a new lift. A single-storey “garden store” was also included that had proposed separate access from Pembroke Lane, which runs along the north side end of the terrace house, connecting Wellington Road to Waterloo Road.
Given the scale of the works and the prominence of the property, the application attracted a few observations. These included one from the Pembroke Road Association, signed by one Patrick F Wallace, former director of the National Museum of Ireland, which focused on the preservation of the wall along Pembroke Lane, stating that “it must not be demolished (either deliberately or accidentally) to be rebuilt or reconstituted”.
A Pembroke Lane neighbour, Olive O’Brien, described the extension as “extremely unsightly and over-scaled”, also highlighting her opposition to the idea of “creating a new gate in the wall onto the lane”.
City planners “broadly welcomed” the proposed renovation but significant additional information was sought relating to the “overly dominant” extension and the proposed opening to the boundary wall.
Final planning permission was granted in July 2021 and it has taken almost two years to complete the extensive project.
Peter White has owned a number of houses on and off Wellington Road that have been offloaded in recent years, including one at 6 Raglan Road that was sold to Denis O’Brien. It ended up featuring in a colourful spat between Dinny and the Revenue Commissioners over whether the standard of accommodation was such that he could have used it as a family home instead of decamping to sunny tax-friendly Portugal.
Another pile on the corner of Wellington Road and Elgin Road was offloaded by Peter White to Liam Church and Fionnuala Higgins in 2018 for just on €3m, €¾m below the original asking price the year before.
The sale of the contents of No 1 Wellington Road followed in 2021 but, according to the planning application subsequently submitted by O’Flaherty, she was not the owner at the time and the application was made with the consent of the owners – Peter White, his son Trevor White and the legal personal representative of Peter’s wife, Alicia White (deceased).
By the time of the Adam’s auction, Peter White had been sued by vulture fund Carval’s subsidiary, Feniton Property Finance, which was granted a temporary High Court order in 2019 freezing his assets after alleging he had been attempting to dissipate assets to frustrate a €3.9m judgment against him.
This was denied by White, who claimed at the time that he would have “plenty to say” on the matter if it was pursued.
The judgment related to funds that had been loaned to Peter and Alicia White, along with two of their companies, to fund the purchase and refurbishment of properties, including on Wellington Road.
Happily, the matter was subsequently settled.