The Dalata Group has secured planning permission for a €36m plan to transform its Clayton Hotel Dublin Airport into one of the largest in the country.
Last month, Fingal County Council gave the group the go-ahead to add a 367-bedroom extension at the hotel, that was formerly Bewley’s Airport Hotel.
Plans were for lodged for the extension, which represents a 78% jump in bed capacity at the 466-bedroom hotel, against the background of overwhelming demand for rooms at the hotel.
The plans were lodged by the Moran & Bewley Hotel group last year prior to the hotel being sold in a nine-hotel deal to the Dalata group in a €455m transaction.
In planning documents lodged with Fingal County Council, the hotel revealed that, for the year to the end of September 20, it turned away 54,000 group room nights because the hotel had no space.
Outlining the business case for the extension, the hotel stated that this figure does not take account the thousands of individuals the hotel turns away because of capacity constraints.
Underlining the booming business at the hotel, the submission stated that for the year to the end of September 20, the hotel was completely booked out on 148 nights, or 56% of the time when business was turned away.
The hotel group told Fingal Council that, in five out of the preceding 12 months, occupancy was in excess of 90%.
In addition to the business turned away, the hotel also stated: “We have had to turn away significant corporate business such as airline contracts on the basis that we have not been in a position to guarantee availability.”
The hotel told the Council that the plan, which also includes a conference centre, swimming pool and gym, “will shift the positioning of Bewleys hotel from an ‘airport hotel’ to a multi-faceted large scale hotel complex”.
The 367 new bedrooms are to be housed in two blocks on five to seven floors over ground level.
However, three local residents appealing the planning decision to An Bord Pleanála, and a current evaluation of the project by its new owners, have combined to throw the scheme into question.
Yesterday, Dalata Group CEO, Pat McCann was non-committal about the project, pointing out that the plans were lodged by the previous owners.
He said: “We have received the permission and will be assessing its potential as to what extent we may proceed with the plan.”
Mr McCann said that the process would take a couple of months.
Three locals in two separate appeals have appealed the decision to grant to An Bord Pleanála.
In their appeal, Gregory and Philomena Fitzsimmons of The Bostonian, Clonshaugh claim that “this development will result in this hotel being one of the largest in the country and the infrastructure is not suitable”.
A third local resident, Gerard McLeod, has also appealed the decision.
Mr McLeod, from Labourer’s Cottages, Clonshaugh, claims that the development will have a lasting negative impact on local residents due to increased traffic, noise, loss of privacy and security reasons.
Dalata has also appealed the decision and the group’s appeal relates only to a technical appeal on a planning condition relating to parking.
A decision is not expected on the appeals until January.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved