Sunday 18 August 2019

An Taisce heritage officer has plans for Airbnb-style studio lettings shot down on appeal

Permission refused: Ian Lumley, heritage officer with An Taisce. Photo: Mark Condren
Permission refused: Ian Lumley, heritage officer with An Taisce. Photo: Mark Condren
The Georgian building at 3 Henrietta Street, Dublin, for which the plans for short-let studios were submitted

Gordon Deegan

The some-time scourge of plans by Trump Doonbeg and other developers has lost out on his own plans to extend the number of Airbnb-style studio lettings at his protected Georgian property in Dublin.

This follows An Bord Pleanála refusing planning permission to An Taisce's Heritage Officer Ian Lumley and builder Patrick Wigglesworth to convert the lower ground floor of their property at 3 Henrietta Street into three short-term-lease studio apartments.

The outspoken planning expert - who doesn't receive any pay for his work for An Taisce - has previously clashed with county councillors over one-off housing and has led An Taisce objections against a number of high profile developments, including a Ballsbridge office block plan by developer Johnny Ronan.

However, Mr Lumley now finds himself in the unusual role of developer and has to contend with the appeals board shooting down his and Mr Wigglesworth's plans to increase the number of Airbnb studio-style lettings at the 1750s property.

In refusing planning permission, the appeals board pointed out that Henrietta Street "is a street of international importance in conservation terms".

Upholding a decision by Dublin City Council to refuse planning, the appeals board stated that the plans "would result in serious injury to the special architectural character and fabric of this protected structure of international significance".

The appeals board stated: "The proposed development would also set an undesirable precedent for similar developments along the street."

The City Council refused planning permission last year after a conservation report stated that the provision of three apartments in the basement "is over-development from a conservation point of view". The report stated that "the proposal would have a significant and long-term negative impact on Henrietta Street and the wider context along Henrietta Street".

Last June, Mr Lumley and Mr Wigglesworth secured planning permission for seven AirBnB-style studio lettings at the same building.

Mr Lumley said yesterday: "The building continues to be under refurbishment.

"The house has been restored from serious dereliction requiring major investment without any grant funding and is now nearing completion."

He stated: "I am involved in different ways with a number of organisations, for none of which I am employed or receive any financial benefit."

The appeal against the council refusal on behalf of Mr Lumley and Mr Wigglesworth argued that the two applicants are of the opinion that the works proposed will have minimal impact upon the historic fabric and allow for the ongoing use and survival of the building.

The two argued that the proposed alterations do not represent an intensification of existing use, pointing out that the proposal represents a considerable reduction in terms of the intensity of use.

In an objection to the plan, Cliona Buckley from Rathmines argued that the property is being developed as a totally commercial enterprise.

Irish Independent

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