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boutique hotel Contentious plans for new Temple Bar four storey hotel given green light

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission to Tom Doone for the boutique hotel and ground floor restaurant- but only after dismissing the recommendation of its own inspector to refuse planning permission

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Temple Bar. Stock picture

Temple Bar. Stock picture

Temple Bar. Stock picture

Contentious plans for a new four storey over basement hotel for Dublin’s Temple Bar have been given the green light.

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission to Tom Doone for the boutique hotel and ground floor restaurant- but only after dismissing the recommendation of its own inspector to refuse planning permission.

It is the third time owner of the adjoining Merchant’s Arch pub, Tom Doone, has sought to develop the site which is located in a corner of Temple Bar Square.

An Bord Pleanála has twice upheld appeals against plans to develop the boutique hotel on the site in recent years.

The grant of permission for the nine bedroom hotel scheme at 1-4 Merchants Arch upholds an approval by Dublin City Council for the proposal earlier this year.

That decision was appealed by Temple Bar Residents and in the residents’ appeal, local resident and former Irish Times Environment Editor, Frank McDonald expressed fears that the restaurant will become yet another pub for Temple Bar.

Mr McDonald claimed Temple Bar “is saturated with restaurants and no credible planning argument can be made for yet another one, especially when it would displace small traders who add vibrancy to Merchant’s Arch”.

Mr McDonald argued that Dublin’s ‘Cultural Quarter’ and the city more generally “can ill afford to lose this little alley and its authentic, even chaotic mix and match uses".

He stated that “none of the architectural or planning jargon that swirls around this scheme can justify it”.

Mr McDonald expressed fears that the restaurant will be used as a pub and he said that “Temple Bar has become a goldmine for publicans…as residents, we just live here amongst all the money making activities going on around us”.

Mr McDonald urged the appeals board to reject “this opportunistic proposal”.

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The appeals board inspector in the case, A. Considine recommended refusal after concluding that the development of the restaurant to replace the series of retail shops “would have a detrimental impact on the scale, urban grain and vibrancy of the area”.

The inspector also recommended refusal after concluding that due to the scheme’s height, scale, mass and bulk, it would be out of character with the development of the area.

However, the appeals board granted planning permission after finding that a restaurant replacing the smaller retail units “would be an acceptable design approach which would not have a negative impact on the scale, urban grain and vibrancy of the area”.

The board also ruled that the design approach of the scheme would provide an appropriate design solution for the prominent infill site.

The board concluded that the scheme would constitute an appropriate quantum of development and would not seriously injure the character of the Temple Bar Conservation Area.

Consultants for Mr Doone, Tony Manahan of Manahan Planners argued that the scheme is appropriately scaled and designed in its setting, is a considerable improvement on the existing building and the contemporary design will sit comfortably alongside adjoining Protected Structures.

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