Plans for 111-bed hotel at Rathmines Swan Centre rejected

Plans For 111-Bed Hotel At Rathmines Swan Centre Rejected
The board upheld the earlier decision of Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission for the proposed development by Sawbridge. Photo: Google Maps
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Seán McCárthaigh

The owners of the Swan Centre in Rathmines have been dealt a major blow to their plans to incorporate a large new hotel into the existing shopping centre.

An Bord Pleanála has rejected plans to construct a 111-bedroom hotel on top of the Swan Centre because of its excessive scale.


The board upheld the earlier decision of Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission for the proposed development by Sawbridge.

The company, which owns the Swan Centre, is run by the Anderson family which also operates the Omniplex cinema chain.

An Bord Pleanála rejected the appeal against the council’s ruling by Sawbridge which also submitted an alternative

Plans to address concerns raised by the local authority which would have resulted in the number of bedrooms being reduced to 98.


The company claimed that council planners had not issued a request for further information about the development which would have allowed it to provide the additional information that was noted as missing.

It said such a request would also have allowed it to address concerns raised by the local authority, possibly by making appropriate amendments to the design of the scheme.

The company said the original plans would have resulted in the overall height of the building becoming six storeys with four storeys at street front level compared to the existing two-storey shopping centre.

It claimed the existing condition of the building was “dated and underwhelming.”


The plans involved the demolition of the existing pitched glazed roof over the shopping mall and the change of use of one ground floor shop into a hotel reception area.

Two retail units would also have been removed at first floor level to provide storage and staff facilities for the hotel.

However, Dublin City Council claimed the proposed hotel represented “an incongruous and overbearing form of development…which would significantly detract from the setting and character of Rathmines village.”

In its ruling, An Bord Pleanála said it had examined both the original and revised plans by Sawbridge and concluded that the proposed development was “overly dominant and excessive in scale.”


The board said the project would detract significantly from the visual amenities of the area.

“It is considered that the proposed development would have a significant detrimental impact on the character and heritage of the area and would disrupt the setting and special interest of Rathmines Town Hall and Clock Tower, a protected structure, and the streetscape of Rathmines.

The board also concluded that the proposed hotel would have an unacceptable impact on the residential amenities of homes on Newington Terrace in Rathmines.

The project also met with strong opposition from community groups and residents’ associations in the area.


One group, the Rathmines Initiative, expressed concern that the proposed development could be used for residential accommodation other than for hotel guests.

Another group, the Belgrave Residents’ Association, acknowledged changes to limits on building heights for appropriate developments but argued such buildings should not be allowed “to the detriment of the historic fabric of our city.”

The group claimed that no buildings directly on the front of Rathmines’ main street should rise above the existing permitted three storeys with any additional stories being considerably stepped back.

The Swan Centre, which is located in the heart of Rathmines, first opened in 1984 and underwent a major refurbishment in 2015. The Omniplex cinema was built in 2011 and was expanded to its current nine screens between 2014 and 2016.

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