Bord Pleanála has upheld plans to convert a former 19th-century bank in Dungarvan into a bar and restaurant as West Waterford salutes the success of the county’s greenway project.
The 46km greenway on a former railway line linking Waterford and Kilmacthomas has attracted more than 283,000 visitors in the last two years, forcing a demand for increased accommodation and food businesses.
There are also calls from several quarters to extend, and expand amenities on the greenway, amid spawning challenging such as parking.
The route has accommodated more than 20 festivals and events including a Valentine’s Day promotion, a Séan Kelly dawn cycle, and a Halloween celebration.
Meanwhile, millionaire stud farm owner Michael Ryan had acquired planning last May for the former Provincial Bank building, known as Bridge House, a prominent site on Dungarvan’s Davitt’s Quay.
The development forms part of a major regeneration of the quay area coinciding with the success of the nearby greenway.
An appeal, however, was lodged by Dublin-based consultant Bernard Dee on behalf of Michael Burke from Abbeyside, Dungarvan.
The appellant had expressed concerns of over-development of a protected structure, insufficient parking provision, demolition of a rear extension and south annex, archaeological issues and right-of-way access.
Bord Pleanala dismissed the appeal but imposed 12 conditions, including the preservation, recording, and protection of archaeological materials, including original, interior and exterior fittings/features, joinery, plasterwork and staircases. A conservation architect is required to manage, monitor and implement the works.
The two-storey, Italianate style building stands close to Dungarvan town centre.
It was built in 1860 as a town hall and society house following fundraising by the local curate, Fr Mooney, but instead served as a cultural centre and small museum. It was sold to the Provincial Bank in 1870 and served as a bank up to 40 years ago.
Next door, Mr Ryan is proposing to create a 10-storey holiday apartment project and leisure complex in the adjacent former Glanbia laboratory and office block. He is appealing the council’s refusal to grant planning.
Meanwhile, also on Davitt St, work has begun converting the former Áras Brúgha office block into a hostel.