Six-storey hotel in Portobello given go-ahead despite objections

An Bord Pleanála rejects its own inspector’s recommendation on €40m development

Dublin’s Portobello bridge. Photograph: Alan Betson

Dublin’s Portobello bridge. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

An Bord Pleanála has given the green light for a new €40 million hotel at Portobello in Dublin despite its own inspector strongly recommending that planning should be refused.

The plan for the 178-bedroom six-storey hotel by MKN Property Group and Tifco Ltd was opposed by locals, who appealed a decision last year by Dublin City Council granting planning permission. Just under 60 objections were lodged against the proposal, mainly by locals. One of the objectors was David McSavage, best known for his RTÉ show The Savage Eye.

In a comprehensive recommendation to refuse planning permission, the appeals board inspector in the case stated that the height, scale, form and design of the building proposed would be out of character and would be visually obtrusive when viewed along the Grand Canal.

Echoing the views of objectors, the planner also stated that the hotel would detract from the visual quality of the area, detract from the setting of Portobello House and result in an undesirable precedent for further such development.

At the end of a 31-page report, the planning inspector also stated that the proposed hotel would conflict with the overall purpose of the zoning objective, would lead to an intensification of activity in this predominantly residential area and would represent significant over-development of a restricted site.

However, in disregarding the inspector’s recommendation, the appeals board stated that it concurred with the council on the acceptability of a hotel at this location.

‘Acceptable’ height

It stated that, furthermore, it considered the height and scale of the hotel to be acceptable.

The appeals board said that the proposed development integrated successfully into the urban setting and did not injure the character of Portobello House.

It also said that planned hotel did not represent over-development or intensification of the site and would not set an undesirable precedent for future development in the area.

In a double win for the developers, the board has reversed the requirement by the city council that one of the floors of the hotel be omitted from the development.

In 2016 MKN Property Group spent €10 million purchasing Portobello House and adjoining lands at the location.

John Spain & Associates , the planning consultant for the applicants, told the city council that the plan “will contribute significantly to the further development and regeneration of Portobello Harbour”.

Mr Spain also stated that the hotel would provide “the catalyst for future development and provide facilities and services in the area”.