Hayfield group appeals decision on proposed Donnybrook Hotel

Hayfield Manor Hotel, Cork
By Seán McCárthaigh

A leading Munster-based hotel group is to try and reverse a decision that halted its plans for a €50m five-star facility that would mark its entry into the Dublin market.

Hoteliers Joe and Margaret Scally have lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the decision by Dublin City Council last March to refuse planning permission for the proposed new 168-bed hotel on the site of the former St Mary’s College in Donnybrook.

The Scallys, who own the Hayfield Family Collection that includes the five-star Hayfield Manor Hotel in Cork as well as the Killarney Royal Hotel and the Great Southern Hotel in Killarney, want to convert and extend the former Carmelite seminary on Bloomfield Avenue in Donnybrook into a luxury hotel complete with spa facility including indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

The proposed Donnybrook Hotel also provided for a new steel-and-glass orangery which would include a tea room and outdoor terrace.

The Scally family bought the property, which is adjacent to the Royal Hospital Donnybrook, for just under €16m in early 2018 although the original guide price when it first came on the market the previous year was only €10m.

The Scallys hope to overturn the council’s refusal of planning permission which was on grounds that the project did not meet the zoning objective of the 1.2 hectare site as well as concerns about its height and loss of mature trees.

Council planners ruled that 25% of the land was not set aside for open space and/or community facilities as required by the zoning policy for the area.

They also said the proposed height of the new hotel at 15.3 metres would adversely impact on the setting of the former college which is a projected structure as well as an adjacent terrace of listed buildings.

The Scallys claimed they are committed to carrying out a high quality hotel development that would have regard to the features, character and protected status of the former college.

The development is being supported by Fáilte Ireland which said the proposed hotel would be a valuable addition to the accommodation stock in Dublin and would go some way to addressing the shortage of tourist beds in the city.

A ruling in the case is expected by October 12.

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