Residents ‘blocked in behind a prison wall’ by new Dublin hotel

Concerns over Kevin Street Maldron hotel were ‘ignored and ridiculed’, say locals

The view of the new Maldron hotel from Rita Kane’s bedroom window in Cathedral View Court off Kevin Street in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The view of the new Maldron hotel from Rita Kane’s bedroom window in Cathedral View Court off Kevin Street in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Residents in Dublin’s south inner-city say they have been “blocked in behind a prison wall” by the construction of a hotel metres from their homes.

The residents say their concerns, first raised three years ago, were “ignored and ridiculed” by the hotel developers, the builder and by An Bord Pleanála.

The 139-bedroom, five-storey Kevin Street Maldron hotel is due to open in July 2018.

Announcing its purchase of the site at the corner of Kevin Street and New Street South in May 2016, the Dalata Hotel Group described it as “superbly located . . . 600 metres west of St Stephen’s Green”.

It also abuts a small enclave of council houses at Cathedral View, set back from Kevin Street, and neighbours terraced houses on New Street South.

Residents have been picketing the site for several months, calling for “respect for residents” and saying, at this late stage, they want an apology and compensation from Dalata.

Rita Kane has lived has on Cathedral View Court for 38 years. She shows the upstairs bedroom window from where she used to be able look across to Kevin Street, and on to St Patrick’s Cathedral. In years past, she could watch her sons go to school up the small walkway from Kevin Street.

Completely obscured

The view is now completely obscured by the hotel. Two of her sons have both since died – one over 30 years ago, aged 10 when he fell from a wall; a second more recently following an accident at home.

“I used to love sitting here in the early morning with my cup of tea watching people walking and on their bikes, going to work. I’d have memories of my sons. It used to be lovely. That’s all gone now. I can’t even explain the feeling of upset every time I look out. I I don’t even want to wake up anymore here.”

Mary Carney, Kathleen Monaghan and Rita Kane, residents of Cathedral View Court off Kevin Street, Dublin, where the view of the cathedral has been blocked by the new Maldron hotel. Photograph: Dave Meehan 03/05/2018 .Three residents of Cathedral View Court off Kevin St. in Dublin, where the view of the cathedral has been blocked by a new hotel. From left: Mary Carney, Kathleen Monaghan and Rita Kane.Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times
Mary Carney, Kathleen Monaghan and Rita Kane, residents of Cathedral View Court off Kevin Street, Dublin, where the view of the cathedral has been blocked by the new Maldron hotel. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Mary and Bernard Carney’s livingroom and bedroom windows, in their home at Cathedral View Walk, are about two metres from the hotel’s perimeter wall. “Our privacy is gone,” said Ms Carney. “The back windows of the hotel look right down into our bedroom. The light is gone, the house is cold.”

In 2015, when planning was initially sought by Highgate Investments Ltd, for a 150-bedroom, six-storey hotel, 23 objections were lodged to Dublin City Council, 20 of them from residents.

Most of the residents’ objections cite loss of light, street views and “destruction of the character of the locality”.

The council refused permission in June 2015, saying it would “seriously injure the amenities of the area”.

Brushed us off

An Bord Pleanála overturned this in November 2015, granting permission for a 137-bedroom, five-storey hotel, saying it would fit with the council’s plan “for the promotion and enhancement of the city as a world-class tourist destination”.

Conditions are attached, about such issues as the hours construction could take place, materials used and requiring an awning on the fifth floor. Residents’ concerns are noted.

“Everything we were afraid would happen to our little community has happened,” said Ms Carney. “We’ve just been brushed us off as if we’re nothing.

A Dalata spokeswoman said: “The site at Kevin Street was purchased by Dalata with prior approved planning permission in a competitive tender process. The construction is fully compliant with planning in accordance with Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála.

“Once construction has been completed, Dalata will have invested over €20 million in the area and will create over 100 jobs, many of which will be local.

“Dalata has committed to contribute to community development projects in the immediate area”.

The council said it did not comment on An Bord Pleanála decisions. An Bord Pleanála referred The Irish Times to reports on the decision on its website.