Dereliction case against owner of Waterford hotels concludes 

The case concerned Tramore's Grand Hotel, which is located in the centre of the seaside town but has lain empty since 2014
Dereliction case against owner of Waterford hotels concludes 

The former Grand Hotel on Little Market Street, Tramore, Co Waterford. Picture: Dan Linehan

A long-running dereliction prosecution against the owner of one of the country's oldest hotels in Co Waterford has concluded.

The case concerned Tramore's Grand Hotel, which is located in the centre of the seaside town but has lain empty since 2014.

A solicitor for Waterford City and County Council told the District Court on Monday that it is satisfied all works have been completed at the vacant building to mean it is no longer derelict.

It comes two-and-a-half years and around a dozen court hearings after the council first announced plans to take the dereliction order against Colm Wu, also known as Guo Qing Wu.

A council spokesperson said at the time that the owner had "not engaged in terms of removing the hotel from dereliction", leading the local authority to prosecute him.

Eoin O'Herlihy, of Nolan Farrell & Goff, told Judge Kevin Staunton that a council survey carried out last Friday of the Grand concluded with the surveyor satisfied at the condition of the building.

The case was taken under the Derelict Sites Act which allows local authorities to serve a notice on an owner specifying works to be carried out to prevent or stop dereliction. Levies can also be imposed, and a court hearing is part of the enforcement process.

A works schedule was agreed between the local authority and the owner in 2020 to avoid the building falling into further dereliction.

Both sides must still agree on costs, with the case to next appear on March 26.

As the case is still technically before the courts, the local authority declined to comment.

Mr Wu did not appear in court and could not be contacted for comment.

The 80+ bedroom property was built in the 1700s and gives an impressive view of the town and its beach.

It was sold to Mr Wu in 2014 but, when little work was carried out on the building for some time, a derelict sites notice was issued in 2018.

The council had struggled to even make contact with the owner previously, and hired tracing agencies in a bid to track him down as part of the derelict sites process, without success.

Tramore and City West councillor Joe Conway, who has attended each court hearing since the council took the case, said the works carried out to date amount to a "cosmetic cleanup" of the hotel's exterior.

"Windows have been replaced and work like that has been done, so the dereliction is technically gone but for the people of Tramore the sense of desolation with the hotel hasn't gone at all.

"It's still a huge impediment to the development of the centre of the town and it's a pity with so much done, like around the public realm works, that we still have this issue. The hotel is not exactly the impetus you'd want for business," he said.

Local councillors previously voted to place a compulsory purchase order on the building in 2018.

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