Wednesday 15 April 2009

Planners reject developer's bid for 'country's tallest hotel'

PLANNING permission for what would have been the country's tallest hotel at 35 storeys has been refused because it is too high.

Its developers, Treasury Holdings, have also received three other planning setbacks in recent days while receiving approval for three Dublin office developments.

The refusals include a mixed-use development to include 270 apartments in Leopardstown, in south Dublin, a trade park in Balbriggan and an 11 storey office block at Spencer Dock.

The approvals include a €100m headquarters office building on Baggot Street in Dublin, as well as two office blocks in Leopardstown.

Its biggest disappointment arises from the refusal for its plans for an ambitious €300m hotel to serve the National Conference Centre in Dublin's North Docklands.


Despite being described as being of "architectural excellence", Bord Pleanala ruled it out because its height and mass was unsuitable for the site at Spencer Dock, it said.

A number of parties, including businessman Dermot Desmond and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA), had objected to the hotel. Mr Desmond said the plan was "completely incongruous" and he warned against allowing "the desired financial return of any developer to be a valid planning consideration".

The project included 457-bedrooms, a fitness centre/spa including swimming pool, and was to be operated by the Ritz Carlton group.

Expressing disappointment at the refusal, a spokesperson for Treasury said that Dublin will be the only city in the world whose conference centre does not have a hotel connected to it., who added that "300 people would have been employed to build the five-star development and, when operational, the hotel would have created an additional 600 jobs" in Dublin city.

The Government is helping to finance the conference centre by a leasehold agreement.


Dublin City Council (DCC) has also refused permission for an 11 storey office development at Spencer Dock but the developer is appealing this refusal to Bord Pleanala. DCC explained that it rejected this as being premature because it is located close to a proposed interconnector rail link to Heuston Station and may affect the development of this important national infrastructural project.

Meanwhile Bord Pleanala explained that its refusal for the planned trade park on a site just off the M1 motorway near Balbriggan was due to the prospect that the park would operate as a retail warehouse outlet which would not be in keeping with the industrial zoning which applies to the 6.57-acre site and would detract from the viability of established town centres.

The Treasury spokesperson pointed out that the group had received 20 planning approvals since last summer and more recently it received approval for two new developments.

Irish Independent

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