Final approval for new Dublin hotel

By Gordon Deegan

An Bord Pleanála has given the go-ahead for a new €40m luxury hotel for Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green despite security fears being raised by staff at the adjoining offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Dublin City Council originally backed the plan to convert Loreto Hall — the site of a former women’s hostel, at Number 77 St Stephen’s Green — into a luxury hotel back in April; only for it to be blocked by an appeal by the Department.

Brown Table Solutions has now been granted final approval to convert the building into an 87-bedroom hotel in spite of appeals. However, An Bord Pleanála has responded to concerns by ordering the omission of a planned penthouse suite level and one floor from the planned hotel.

The planning board said the proposal would not adversely affect the character or architectural significance of the historic buildings on site or in the vicinity of the site. It also said the plan would not seriously injure the amenities of properties in the vicinity and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience.

The approval comes against the backdrop of An Taisce shouting ‘stop’ to the number of hotels planned for the capital.

An Taisce has also said the level of new hotel plans has reached the point of “unsustainability” in the context of city centre planning.

However, Fáilte Ireland has warned there is a major threat to additional tourism in Dublin “because of the acute shortage of hotel bedrooms in the city centre”.

Regarding the Loreto Hall plan, the Department of Foreign Affairs said it represented a “gross over-development” of the site and pointed out that Iveagh House regularly hosts heads of State, national and foreign dignitaries and political leaders for sensitive meetings and negotiations.

“The security and privacy of the Iveagh House premises is of paramount importance. The proposal to construct a bank of hotel rooms with windows facing directly into the Iveagh House offices and ballroom — its main meeting room — with inadequate separation distances, is of great concern,” it said in its appeal.

Loreto Hall went on the market last year with a guide price of €5.75m.

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