An Bord Pleanála gives go-ahead for 78-bed Rathmines hotel

Planning permission granted despite the opposition of local residents and businesses

Lenehan’s Bar and Grill is partially located to the rear of the application site

An Bord Pleanála has given the green light to plans by hoteliers Ray Byrne and Eoin Doyle for a four-storey, 78-bedroom business hotel for Rathmines.

The appeals board has granted planning permission to Rathmines Hospitality Ltd for the hotel at 10 Wynnefield Rd, Rathmines, despite the opposition of local residents and businesses.

Five separate appeals were lodged against last year's Dublin City Council decision to grant permission including ones by the Rathgar Residents Association, Eamon Grace of Grace's pub, Paul Byrne of Lenehan's Bar and Grill, and a joint appeal by locals Liam and Orla Lenehan, Roisin Lenehan, Kate Lenehan and Leah Lenehan.

Businesswoman and local resident Fiona McHugh also voiced her opposition to the scale of the scheme in her submission to the council and and the appeals board. Ms McHugh, with her husband Paul Byrne, co-founded the Fallon and Byrne gourmet food business.

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The appeals board inspector in the case, Jane Dennehy, recommended that the top floor containing 28 rooms be omitted from the hotel scheme, but this condition was not included by the board in its decision.

“Although the development is otherwise considered acceptable, the omission would also contribute to a reduced intensity of development and height raised in the third-party objections, ” Ms Dennehy said.

Ray Byrne and Eoin Doyle already operate a number of hotels and guesthouses across the country including the Wineport Lodge at Glasson, Co Westmeath, and Stauntons on the Green in Dublin.

In giving the proposal the go-ahead, the appeals board ruled that the planned hotel would not seriously injure the visual amenities and character of the surrounding historic built environment.

Lenehan’s Bar and Grill is partially located to the rear of the application site and as part of his opposition against the scheme, Paul Byrne claimed that the hotel was disproportionate relative to the site size and its narrow configuration.

Mr Byrne also argued that the entirety of his business’s outdoor dining space would be overshadowed by the hotel.

In her submission, Ms McHugh contended that the scheme was overwhelming and the need for a business hotel at the location outside the city centre was questionable, and a more modest-sized proposal might be appropriate.

Planning documents lodged with the application by planning consultant Simon Clear said the concept was for "a business hotel in the heart of the key district centre in Rathmines".

The development would “provide high quality modern business hotel accommodation which is not currently provided for within the central urban block”.

He also said the hotel would “introduce a new use to the site and to the street”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times