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An Bord Pleanála issues rebuke to city council's 'too many hotels' claim

This follows the appeals board giving the green light to Ringline Investments for a nine storey hotel.

AN BORD PLEANÁLA has issued a rebuke to Dublin City Council’s contention that there are too many hotels in the capital’s city centre area.

This follows the appeals board giving the green light to Ringline Investments for a nine storey 142 bedroom hotel for Capel Street in Dublin.

The appeals board decision overturns a ruling by the Council to refuse planning to Ringline for the hotel after expressing concerns about the “existing over-concentration” of hotels in the area.

The council said plans for the hotel at the corner of Capel Street and Strand Street Little would “exacerbate” the over concentration of hotels and fundamentally undermine the vision for the provision of a dynamic mix of uses within the city centre area.

The Council stance was supported in a joint observation by Labour councillors Joe Costello, Declan Meenagh and Darragh Moriarty to An Bord Pleanála who agreed with the City Council that there is an over-concentration of hotels at the expense of an appropriate mix of uses.

In a separate observation to the appeals board, An Taisce also raised concerns about the number of hotels at the expense of residential development.

The Council raised its concerns over the number of hotels after stating that around 2,150 hotel rooms have been permitted in recent years within 350 metres of the site.

However, the appeals board has granted planning permission after concluding that the hotel would constitute an acceptable quantum and density of development in the area.

The board made its ruling after its inspector Stephen Ward stated that he did not consider that the proposed development would lead to an excessive concentration of hotels in the vicinity of the site having regard to the spatial distribution of existing and permitted hotels.

Mr Ward stated that the Council’s refusal decision “does not appear to be supported by any specific policy basis or an established density standard for hotels”.

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Mr Ward stated that subsequent to the council refusal, the Council granted planning permission for two hotels on other sites in the Capel Street area and these decisions have been appealed to An Bord Pleanala.

On the Ringline Investments refusal, Mr Ward stated that he did not consider that a reasonable policy basis or circumstance exists in this case to support a fundamental objection to the absence of residential units.

Mr Ward stated that “it is widely accepted that a shortage of city hotel accommodation contributed to an increase in short term letting of residential properties and a consequent shortage of housing units”.

He stated that “therefore, despite the uncertainties of the post Covid landscape, an increased hotel capacity is likely to have a positive impact on long term residential capacity in the city centre through the release of short term let properties to the market”.

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Gordon Deegan

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