Anxious planning wait for hotelier

CELEBRITY hotelier John Brennan faces an anxious wait before learning if his dream of developing a luxury holiday complex near Kenmare, Co Kerry, will be allowed to proceed by planning officials.

It has emerged that his ambition to redevelop a hotel property he bought last year, for an estimated cut-price €2 million, has been stalled as the project would materially contravene the county development plan.

Mr Brennan and his wife, Gwen, purchased Dromquinna Manor in south Kerry with a view to developing a top-class conference and wedding facility, separate from the five-star Park Hotel in Kenmare which he operates with his brother Francis.

He plans to remove outbuildings and extensions to construct spacious ground floor function facilities, 12 bedroom suites and a modern reception area in the protected building. The first phase of the redevelopment would cost an estimated €1m.

Mr Brennan, star of the hit RTÉ series At Your Service, has also sought permission to accommodate 32 VIP-style tents and 62 vehicle stands on the grounds to cater for the growing “glamping” luxury holiday market as well as support facilities, including a shop, launderette, kitchen and dining facilities, a games room and parking for 152 vehicles.

It is envisaged that the proposed development would create over 30 jobs if the go-ahead were given.

But Kerry County Council officials have ruled that the plans must go on public display until February 7 to facilitate any observations or submissions as approval for Mr Brennan’s project would be in material contravention of the Kerry development plan.

The blueprint for the county includes a stipulation that direct access on to national roads is not permitted for camping or caravan parks.

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