German envoy objects to Dublin hotel plan

The German Ambassador to Ireland, Matthias Hopfner has objected to the scale of plans for a new 53-bedroom hotel in central Dublin.

In April, Paddy McKillen Jnr, through his Dale Vision Ltd, lodged plans to build the hotel and demolish the existing well known Howl at the Moon nightclub on Lower Mount Street.

Mr McKillen’s Press Up Entertainment group purchased the building that houses the Howl at the Moon from the Mercantile pubs group in February for a reported €3.2m.

Last month, Dublin City Council gave the green light for the plans after the council planner found that the proposal was appropriately scaled and designed. The hotel was likely to have a positive effect on the area, the planner said.

The council gave the go-ahead in spite of An Taisce stating that the application should be refused.

Consultants for Dale Vision, Manahan Planners state that the proposal will provide much-needed hotel beds for Dublin.

However, in a rare move into Irish planning matters, Mr Hopfner submitted an appeal in his official role as German ambassador.

He is one of a number of parties to appeal against the decision. Mr Hopfner’s concerns arise from the impact the new hotel will have on the adjoining German government-owned Goethe-Institut, or German cultural institute, which is part of a global network of institutes that promote the study of German language and culture.

Mr Hopfner has hired planning consultants, Sheridan Woods to lodge the appeal in which the firm requests An Bord Pleanála accepts “the development represents overdevelopment and the overall massing, scale and form of development”.

It said the plans should be reviewed and modified to lessen what it views as the negative effect on nearby protected buildings. The consultant also argues the proposal “will generate an overbearing, oppressive and enclosing impact” when viewed from the principal rooms of the Goethe-Institut.

According to the appeal, Mr Hopfner “has no issue with the redevelopment of the site nor the proposed use. Our client’s issue relates to the extent of development, its scale and form and its impact on the protected structure at No 37 and its impact on the context and setting on the proposed extension to No 37 Merrion Square.”

A decision is due on the appeal in October.

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