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Powerscourt Hotel wins approval for purpose-built accommodation for staff

Bosses hope development will help hotel to recruit workers at a time of staff shortages and a housing crisis

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Powerscourt Hotel near Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

Powerscourt Hotel near Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

Powerscourt Hotel near Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

The Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa has received planning approval to build a new 56-bed staff accommodation complex to help it attract staff amid the current housing crisis.

Approval of the application, which can still be appealed to An Bord Pleánala and is subject to conditions, brings the proposed development for staff at the five-star hotel a step closer to fruition.

In the submission, planners for Powerscourt said it was “exasperated” by the current housing crisis and the availability of affordable housing near Powerscourt in Enniskerry leading to difficulties in attracting prospective employees. The issues had meant the hotel had turned its attention to recruiting from “close haul European markets” such as Spain and Greece, supplemented by people from Brazil and “more recently Ukraine”.

The document said these staff required accommodation to be provided, adding staff shortages in the industry would be “prevalent for the medium to long term”.

Planners for Powerscourt wrote that currently some hotel rooms are occupied by staff, which was lowering revenue.

According to the submission, the development will have 29 rooms and 56 beds, with each unit sized at 17.5 sq m. It will also include a common room and kitchen for those staying there.

In a letter outlining the planning approval conditions, Wicklow County Council said Powerscourt must before development begins enter into a legal agreement that the complex shall be used for “short-term staff accommodation purposes” only. 

Following the planning application submission in June, Eamonn Casey, the general manager of Powerscourt Hotel, told the Sunday Independent that attracting staff had been more challenging in the current economic climate, citing increased rental costs and reduced availability.

He said the hotel employed more than 250 people, a large proportion of whom lived locally. However, many employees needed to relocate from elsewhere in Ireland or internationally to start positions.

Following the approval, Casey did not respond to a request for comment.

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