Ben Dunne objects to revised plan for new Premier Inn hotel in Dublin
Dublin City Council has granted permission for an extra floor to be added to a hotel proposed for the corner of Upper Abbey Street and Jervis Street
A bed at a Premier Inn hotel in Liverpool. Photograph: REUTERS/Darren Staples/File
Dublin City Council has given approval for a revised, expanded plan for a new hotel in Dublin city centre, despite an objection by gym owner Ben Dunne.
The local authority has granted planning permission to PI Hotels & Restaurants (operator of the Premier Inn brand) to add an extra floor for its proposed development of a new hotel on the site of Twilfit House on the corner of Upper Abbey Street and Jervis Street.
The altered plan will bring the height of the building to eight stories and add an additional 26 bedrooms to the 180 already permitted.
They also involve omitting plans for a gym and retail unit at basement and ground floor levels respectively.
The company, whose largest shareholder is the Whitbread group, operates the Premier Inn chain of hotels, said the Jervis Street hotel would also offer a restaurant, public bar and “work zone”.
The development has been opposed by businessman, Ben Dunne, who claimed the revised plans would contravene the original ruling by the council when planners expressed concern about the height and scale of the building which resulted in the developer reducing the height of the proposed hotel to seven storeys.
“An eight-storey building has already been deemed unacceptable by the planning authority and there is no basis on which to now permit the additional floor proposed,” Mr Dunne said.
He claimed the changes would result in “an over-scaled, overbearing building with a level of commercial activity that would create a severe risk to pedestrian and traffic safety”.
The businessman said he was “profoundly disappointed” that there had been no progress on the regeneration of Wolfe Tone Park, which adjoins the rear of Twilfit House where one of Mr Dunne’s gyms as well as the National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland are housed.
He claimed the additional floor would further exacerbate overshadowing of the park, which he claimed already suffered from anti-social behaviour.
In his objection, Mr Dunne makes no reference to the fact that he owns a gym operating from Twilfit House, which faces demolition to clear the site for the new hotel.
However, he claimed the proposed omission of the gym and retail unit were “wholly unacceptable”.
Mr Dunne said the council should refuse the requested changes as the hotel’s plot ratio was significantly in excess of standards set by the local authority.
His original objection against the hotel, when it was first proposed, primarily related to concerns about the temporary removal of 125 gravestones from Wolfe Tone Park during the construction phase.
A number of local residents also opposed the revised plans for the hotel, while An Taisce criticised the lack of detail about the proposed changes in public notices.
PI Hotels & Restaurants said the revised plans continued to comply with the site’s planning history and land use zoning and no negative impact would arise on adjoining properties as a result of the amended design of the hotel. It is reported to have paid more than €15 million to acquire the site.
Objectors have until March 11th to lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála.