By Gordon Deegan
Planning permission has been granted for a new €40m hotel at Portobello in Dublin in spite of opposition from comedian, David McSavage and scores of other local residents.
The applicants for the 178 bedroom six storey hotel, MKN Property Group and Tifco Ltd have secured planning permission after earlier this year submitting revised plans.
The Dublin City Council planner’s report into the application stated that the applicants proposed a marginal reduction in height.
The planner recommended planning be granted in the case after stating that the alterations proposed “are considered to be an acceptable design approach in terms of setting and character of the area”.
The planner as a result stated that “the proposed development would not adversely affect the character and setting of the street scape and would not seriously injure the amenity of property in the vicinity”.
The planning battle may not be over yet as locals can appeal the City Council decision to An Bord Pleanala.
One of the objectors to the plan was Mr McSavage best known for his RTE show, The Savage Eye.
In total, just under 60 objections were lodged against the proposal, from mainly locals, living in the area have been lodged with the City Council.
Planning consultant for the applicants, John Spain & Associates stated that the plan “will contribute significantly to the further development and regeneration of Portobello Harbour”.
Mr Spain also stated that the hotel will provide “the catalyst for future development and provides facilities and services in the area” while the scale and massing of the proposal have been carefully considered.
In 2016, the MKN Property Group spent €10m on purchasing Portobello House and adjoining lands at the location.
In his objection, Mr McSavage stated that the planned hotel "is far too big in comparison to other buildings in the area”.
Mr McSavage also claimed that the planned hotel will alter the neighbourhood feeling of Portobello; lead to a massive increase in parking issues and result in even more traffic congestion in an already congested area.
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman and local TD, Jim O'Callaghan also opposed the plan along with An Taisce.
In its objection, Kevin Duff of the Dublin City Association of An Taisce told the Council that the size of the proposed hotel “is out of proportion to the intimate scale and character of the surrounding area”.
In his strident objection, Deputy O’Callaghan said that it is his belief that “such a large scale commercial development in a residential area is inappropriate.
Deputy O’Callaghan stated that “there is a significant shortage of housing in the area and throughout the city. The area should be developed for apartments as the country in the midst of a housing crisis”.
Deputy O’Callaghan stated that “residents of Portobello have huge difficulty getting parking in the area and this will get worse if permission is granted for such a large hotel which has no parking”.
However, the planned development received the support of Fáilte Ireland.
In a submission on behalf of Fáilte Ireland, Mary Stack said that the hotel would be a valuable addition to the accommodation stock in Dublin.
Ms Stack stated that there is a major threat to tourism growth in the capital “because of the acute shortage of hotel bedrooms in the city centre”.
Ms Stack further stated: “The current demand far exceeds the supply and inevitably in a scenario such as as this, prices are inflated giving the message internationally that Dublin is not a competitive destination.