Saturday 24 February 2018

An Taisce backs hotel plan scrutiny

Heritage group An Taisce has defended its objections to a number of Dublin hotel developments at a time when the capital is suffering a shortage of rooms. Photo: David Soanes
Heritage group An Taisce has defended its objections to a number of Dublin hotel developments at a time when the capital is suffering a shortage of rooms. Photo: David Soanes

Fearghal O'Connor

Heritage group An Taisce has defended its objections to a number of Dublin hotel developments at a time when the capital is suffering a shortage of rooms. Planning delays have stalled a number of key projects involving hundreds of new hotel rooms, which in turn is helping to drive up average room prices, industry sources have claimed.

Plans for a 249-room hotel on the site of the derelict former motor tax building River House were appealed by An Taisce and await a decision. Other projects awaiting resolution include hotels at Andrew's Lane, Harcourt Terrace, the former Tivoli Theatre on Francis Street and the Howl at the Moon site on Mount Street.

Plans for the Ormond Hotel and for Marlborough Street were held up by similar objections but are expected to start in the coming months.

"We understand the need for hotel rooms but there are planning regulations in place in Dublin," said An Taisce spokesman Charles Stanley-Smith. An Taisce only makes planning submissions where it believes people are breaking the planning guidelines, he said. "We would be fully behind a nice redevelopment of the Ormond Hotel given the current state that it is in."

Likewise, with River House, Stanley-Smith said An Taisce would support plans to redevelop the entire markets area.

"I would agree that the building [River House]that is there right now is not the world's finest. But it is to try and ensure that whatever is built is going to fit in and not overpower what could be a very nice area of Dublin."

There is no excuse to replace one unsuitable building with another unsuitable building, he said.

Last week, Ryanair's Kenny Jacobs raised serious concerns about rising hotel room prices in Dublin, linking it directly to the low number of rooms built in the city.

"We have to fix the hotel shortage that I know is on the way to being fixed," he said. "But last year there were 20 hotel beds added in all of Dublin. It is simply not good enough and it is driving prices up. We need to keep prices down - at airports, for accommodation, in restaurants."

The Crowe Horwath hotel industry survey said last week that average rates in Dublin hotels are at an all-time high, rising 15pc in 2016 to surpass previous record rates achieved during the boom.

Sunday Indo Business

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