Hotel Meyrick in Galway wins planning appeal over additional rooms

Eyre Square property wants to add 19 bedrooms

The plan would see Hotel Meyrick raise its bedroom total to 122.

The plan would see Hotel Meyrick raise its bedroom total to 122.

 

One of Galway’s best-known hotels has successfully challenged a ruling of Galway City Council blocking its plans to increase accommodation capacity by almost 20 per cent.

Hotel Meyrick on Eyre Square in Galway had its appeal against the council’s decision to reject plans to add an extra 19 bedrooms upheld by An Bord Pleanála.

The hotel, which was formerly known as the Great Southern Hotel, wants to convert its existing fifth-floor, double-height leisure centre and former swimming pool into 13 guest rooms and add an extra storey containing another six bedrooms.

The changes by the hotel’s owner, MT Mono Trading, relate to a rear extension added in the 20th century to the original mid-19th century building which is a protected structure. They will bring the total number of rooms in the hotel to 122.

Galway City Council approved some smaller changes to the lower floors of the hotel but refused planning permission for the change of use of the leisure centre and one-floor extension.

Council planners claimed the proposed alternations were entirely unsympathetic to the original building and would have a negative impact on the Eyre Square Architectural Conservation Area.

They said the existing extension was poor quality and constructed during a fashion for “concrete-framed monolithic buildings”. They also said the plans failed to make any contribution to an area designated for regeneration.

Premature changes

An Taisce had also claimed the changes to the hotel were premature in advance of a new management plan for Eyre Square and would “extend the economic life of a hideous extension” which it claimed was unsightly and unattractive.

However, Hotel Meyrick said the existing modern extension was a unique modern building of considerable architectural merit in its own right.

An inspector with An Bord Pleanála, who visited the hotel, said the existing extension had not been appropriately maintained and reflected “a visually neglected and dilapidated structure”.

However, she was satisfied that works to improve the extension’s external appearance would have a positive effect on the streetscape, while the other changes were all confined to internal works within the existing extension.