File photo of the formal gardens of The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham in Dublin. Alamy Stock Photo
Dublin City Council

City Council refuses planning permission for hotel and office plan in Heuston South Quarter

The Council said the scheme’s scale, bulk and height would impact on the setting and character of the adjoining Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has refused planning permission to contentious plans for a five storey 238-bedroom hotel and a 12-storey office block in the Heuston South Quarter.

The Council has refused planning permission to HPREF HSQ Investments Ltd after concluding that the scheme’s scale, bulk and height would adversely impact on the setting and character of the adjoining Royal Hospital Kilmainham (RHK) which the Council describe “as a built heritage asset which is of international importance”.

The planner’s report which recommended a refusal stated that the proposed scale and massing of the hotel element of the proposal, which adjoins the RHK boundary wall, would appear overbearing and impinge on its setting.

Planning consultants for the mixed scheme, Declan Brassil & Co have told the council that the hotel would provide tourist accommodation that is lacking in the area while the proposed office element would consolidate and enhance the employment capacity and potential of the HSQ

However, the Council also refused planning permission after concluding that the proposed development due to its architectural design, scale and massing would appear incongruous in the context of existing and approved adjoining properties.

In the third leg to its comprehensive refusal, the Council has found that the scheme would “adversely affect the identified Cone of Vision view” pointing out that the Dublin City Development Plan seeks to ensure that new development within the designated Regeneration Area does not adversely affect views within this ‘cone’.

Earlier this year, An Bord Pleanala granted planning permission to HPREF HSQ Investments Ltd for separate plans for a five block 399-unit apartment scheme with one of the blocks reaching 18 storeys in height.

However that appeals board decision, signed off by former deputy chairman, Paul Hyde, is now subject to a High Court judicial review challenge brought by former Environment Editor of The Irish Times, Frank McDonald and architect, Paul Leech. The High Court action has been adjourned to next month.

McDonald, Leech and An Taisce opposed the new application.

In response to the new mixed use scheme, An Taisce’s Dublin City Planning Officer, Kevin Duff stated the Royal Hospital Kilmainham should be treated to the highest level of international best practice in the conservation and protection of its landscape setting and overall ensemble.

Duff stated that the current proposal is premature pending the outcome of the High Court judicial review.

Duff points out that 17th century gardens at the RHK “are now blossoming into full maturity, leaving an outstanding legacy to the city and nation”.

He added that “it must be asked what the legacy of the current round of speculative development proposals immediately east of the walled garden will be?”

In his own submission, Frank McDonald told the Council that the RHK “is the most significant 17th century building in Ireland so what is built in its vicinity is of pre-eminent importance”.

McDonald said that it would be infinitely preferable if the current scheme was withdrawn or rejected as premature pending the outcome of the judicial review proceedings.

He said that this would facilitate “a more considered, comprehensive and better integrated proposal for the site in its totality”.

In his submission, Paul Leech has also called on the Council to refuse planning permission.