Sunday 25 March 2018

JD Wetherspoon plan for city 'superpub' put on hold by council

Tim Martin, chairman and founder of JD Wetherspoon
Tim Martin, chairman and founder of JD Wetherspoon

Gordon Deegan

Concerns that there may be an over-concentration of pubs in the Camden Street area of Dublin have resulted in plans for a new €4m JD Wetherspoon super-pub and hotel being put on hold.

This follows Dublin City Council requesting further information from the UK pub giant on its plan on the site on a former homeless hostel at Camden Hall that is part of a wider company plan to open 30 pubs in Ireland over the next five years.

The application has attracted a number of objections being lodged by local residents against the plan that also proposes a 98 bedroom hotel at the site in a scheme that will create 100 jobs if it gets the green light.

In one objection, local resident, Barry Chambers has told the city council "enough is enough, the area is at tipping point and already fast becoming another Temple Bar - great for revellers and operators but not so good for everyone else".

Mr Chambers urged the planning officer in the case to take a stroll along Camden Street and lanes off the street at closing time "to witness the mayhem at first hand".

Mr Chambers pointed out that there are already 14 pubs on the Camden Street/Wexford Street area with 13 cafes/restaurants.

Now, in response to concerns expressed by local residents, the City Council has told the applicants that it has "concern in relation to the over-concentration of bars and restaurants on Camden Street".

It stated that "given the designation of Camden Street as a market street, the large number of bars and restaurants on Camden Street and Wexford Street and the development plan policies to protect an over an over-concentration of such uses and the shortage of hotel rooms in the city, the Planning Authority has a concern with the reduction in the number of hotel rooms and the inclusion of a 1,184 sq metre of bar/restaurant/lounge/dining and outdoor seating with tables and chairs".

As a result, the council has asked Wetherspoon to justify the reduction in the number of hotel bedrooms and submit a map showing the number of existing bars on Camden Street and Wexford Street in order to establish if there is an over-concentration in the area.

Consultants for Wetherspoon had pointed out to the council that the plan "will deliver a commercial development that will create vibrancy at street level and restore vitality to the surrounding area".

The consultants state that closing time will be 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, that "the proposed bar will not be a late-night bar in the traditional sense" and the impact on local residents will be limited.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business