An Taisce planning chief told his AirBnB style plan seriously injures 'internationally significant' building

An Taisce planning chief told his AirBnB style plan seriously injures 'internationally significant' building
Henrietta Street. Image: Flickr/ William Murphy

The sometime scourge of plans by Trump Doonbeg and other developers has lost out on his own plans to extend the number of Airbnb style studio lettings at his protected Georgian Dublin property.

This follows An Bord Pleanála refusing planning permission to An Taisce's Heritage Officer, Ian Lumley and builder, Patrick Wigglesworth to convert the lower ground floor of their property at 3 Henrietta Street, Dublin into three short term lease studio apartments.

The outspoken planning expert - who doesn't receive any pay for his work for An Taisce - has previously clashed with county councillors over one-off housing and has led An Taisce objections against a number of high profile developments including one office block plan by developer, Johnny Ronan in Ballsbridge.

However, Mr Lumley now finds himself in the unusual role of developer and has to now contend with the appeals board shooting down his and Mr Wigglesworth’s plans to increase the number of AirBnB studio style lettings at the 1750’s property.

In refusing planning permission, the appeals board pointed out that Henrietta Street “is a street of international importance in conservation terms”.

Upholding a decision by Dublin City Council to refuse planning, the appeals board stated that the plans “would result in serious injury to the special architectural character and fabric of this protected structure of international significance”.

The appeals board stated: “The proposed development would also set an undesirable precedent for similar developments along the street.”

The City Council refused planning permission last year after a Conservation report stated that the provision of three apartments in the basement “is over development from a conservation point of view.”

The report stated that “the proposal would have a significant and long term negative impact on Henrietta Street and the wider context along Henrietta Street”.

Last June, co-owners of 3 Henrietta Street, Mr Lumley and Mr Wigglesworth secured planning permission for seven studio AirBnB style lettings at the same building.

Mr Lumley said: “The building continues to be under refurbishment."

He added: “The house has been restored from serious dereliction requiring major investment without any grant funding and is now nearing completion.

He stated:

I am involved in different ways with a number of organisations, for none of which I am employed or receive any financial benefit.”

The appeal against the Council refusal argued that the works proposed would have minimal impact upon the historic fabric and will allow for the ongoing use and survival of the building.

The appeal also argued that the the proposed alterations do not represent an intensification of existing use, pointing out that the proposal represents a considerable reduction in terms of the intensity of use from the previous multiple occupancy use which until the late 20th century was as high as 60 persons.

In an objection to the plan, Cliona Buckley from Rathmines argued that the property is being developed as a totally commercial enterprise.

Ms Buckley said that 3 Henrietta Street is arguably the most important house on Henrietta Street.

This article was edited on April 5 to update details of the appeal.

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