No High Court action over Clarence owners’ expansion plans

Clarence owners, including Bono and the Edge, will not proceed with an action over planning permission decision.

The owners of the four-star Clarence Hotel, which include Bono and the Edge, are not proceeding with a High Court action against a refusal by Dublin City Council to extend planning permission for a €150m proposal to transform the premises.

Last August, lawyers for the Clarence Partnership, whose shareholders are listed as U2’s Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, the Edge, along with financier Derek Quinlan and developer, Paddy McKillen, secured permission to challenge the council’s refusal to extend planning secured five years ago.

Planning permission was granted for a €150m plan to transform the Clarence from a 44-bedroomed hotel into a 141-bedroom five-star hotel and spa complete with restaurant, bar, and fresh food market. It was designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster.

Last March, the partnership sought to extend the duration of the existing planning permission which required to be renewed on a five-yearly basis.

That application was refused by Dublin City Council on the grounds the proposed eight-storey building exceeded the maximum height permissible at the location under the plan.

Yesterday, when the action was briefly mentioned before the High Court, John Gallagher, for the council, said the partnership was not proceeding with the case, and with the consent of both parties the matter could be struck out.

Last August the partnership, represented by Eamon Galligan, secured permission from the High Court to bring a challenge aimed at overturning the council’s decision.

Counsel said the project for the hotel at Wellington Quay and Essex St had been shelved in 2009 because of economic circumstances.

The partnership argued the council was obliged to extend the life of the planning permission if it was satisfied there were considerations of a commercial, economic or technical nature beyond the control of the applicant which militated against commencement of work.

Mr Galligan said after the partnership sought an extension, the council had sought further information to demonstrate that the height of the proposed development was in accordance with the Dublin City development plan.

Following the partnership’s response, the council refused the application to extend the permission.


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