Tramore bar owner says planning refusal for outdoor terrace a ‘missed opportunity’

Council says terrace built without permission is in a visually sensitive area

The beach-view terrace at the Waterford Castle overlooking Tramore

The beach-view terrace at the Waterford Castle overlooking Tramore

 

The owner of Waterford Castle has expressed frustration over the refusal of planning permission for a beach-view terrace at a bar he runs in Tramore.

Séamus Walsh called the decision by Waterford City and County Council a “missed opportunity” ahead of an “outdoors summer” for the hospitality sector.

The decision relates to the back terrace of One the Waterfront, which holds up to 100 people, and was built without the appropriate planning permission.

An application for retention of the terrace was submitted last October through the bar’s owners Wfhtp Limited.

The beach-view terrace is linked by stairs to an existing licensed terrace located at the back of the bar, and provides an additional 31.7 sq m of floor area.

Séamus Walsh on the outdoor terrace at the Waterford Castle. Photograph: Eoghan Dalton
Séamus Walsh on the outdoor terrace at the Waterford Castle. Photograph: Eoghan Dalton

Mr Walsh said he may also look to construct a further, lower-level outdoor licensed terrace.

However, the application to retain the beach-view terrace was refused by Waterford City and County Council last week as the site is in a visually sensitive area, along a cliff face.

Mr Walsh confirmed he will appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

The owner, who is from south Co Kilkenny, said: “I would see this as trying to encourage outdoor dining so we shouldn’t now be going in the opposite direction. It’s good for people, it would allow people using the beach a place to get water and drinks at a part of the beach that hasn’t had anything like this for a long time.

“We want to provide something special for the locals and the out-of-towners and take advantage of the phenomenal views. We took a building which had been derelict for over 15 years and refurbed it, refitted it and brought it to this point.”

The bar is able to hold over 120 people on its current licensed terrace and indoors area, with social distancing, and had a footfall of 58,000 during its brief opening last summer, Mr Walsh said.

The businessman, who left Ireland in the 1980s to work in construction in Australia before taking charge of Waterford Castle six years ago, has invested €1.2 million in the site to date.

He added that he was “disappointed because the council never made contact with me, I had no conversation with the council about this at all and there’s clearly more of a demand for places like this”.

A spokeswoman for Waterford City and County Council said “in common with all other planning authorities”, it does not advise applicants in advance of decisions.

“All planning decisions are uploaded to the online planning system and are live from the date of decision,” the spokeswoman added.

“Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a planning decision there are statutory rights to appeal said decision.”

In a letter sent last December, the council warned that the bar’s site notice for the development was not “easily visible or legible” for people.

Mr Walsh insisted that he “didn’t flaunt” the planning rules: “I did a legal process of retention, which is utilised quite regularly in the planning system. This [the terrace] was to show Tramore what it could really be, to make it shine. I’m not saying I have great vision but I do have some vision.”