Baggot Street hotel for homeless people challenged by local businesses

ireland
Baggot Street Hotel For Homeless People Challenged By Local Businesses Baggot Street Hotel For Homeless People Challenged By Local Businesses
Get the Tables Ltd restaurant of 100 Lower Baggot Street and HT Financial Services Ltd, of 98 Lr Baggot Street, want the court to overturn a Dublin City Council decision.
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High Court reporters

A restaurant and a financial services company in Baggot Street, Dublin, are seeking to challenge moves to turn two neighbouring buildings into a 74-bed nightly hotel for the homeless, the High Court has heard.

Get the Tables Ltd restaurant of 100 Lower Baggot Street and HT Financial Services Ltd, of 98 Lr Baggot Street, want the court to overturn a Dublin City Council decision that the change of use of the neighbouring buildings at 99 and 100 Baggot Street for the homeless did not require planning permission.

The properties comprise over-basement four-storey buildings, which are protected structures, along with two mews buildings at the rear in what is the south city's Georgian Quarter.

They claim the council, which will fund the project, decided a change of use permission was not required because the local authority regarded it as having been in use until recently as a "guest house which operated as Latchford's Townhouse for several decades."

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However, the applicants say the buildings never had permission for hotel use.  They had permissions for use as a restaurant, self-service apartments and residential use but a previous planning application for a hotel was refused, they say.

Alleged breach of planning law

An application, on a one side represented basis only, for leave to bring the challenge against the council was adjourned until May on Wednesday.   The Peter McVerry Trust homeless charity, which the court heard will operate the new facility, is a notice party.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan told John O'Donnell BL, for the applicants, he wanted to hear from the council before he would make a decision on whether to grant leave.

The applicants, in their challenge, say the council acted outside its powers and/or in breach of planning law by declaring the change of use was exempt from planning permission because they say the council had not provided necessary information to back its decision up.

They also say, among other things, the council failed to have regard to relevant considerations, and had regard to irrelevant considerations, in its decision. It had also erred in law, it is argued.

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It is also claimed there was objective bias and conflict of interest in the decision because the Council, as the funder of the project, had a legitimate and material interest in the decision.

The matter should have been referred to An Bord Pleanála for a decision which could have looked at it independently, it is argued.

Among the declarations sought are that the decision was invalid and that the properties do not have an authorised hotel use.

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