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Licence refused as 'too much night-life' on Harcourt Street

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Dublin City Council has sought to call time on the number of late night pubs and nightclubs operating on Harcourt Street by turning down a request for extended opening hours to a proposed new café bar and restaurant in the area.

The council has refused planning permission to the owners of the proposed venue at the corner of Harcourt Street and Montague Street for lifting a condition which restricts its opening hours to 8am-11pm and prohibits its use as a nightclub.

The developer, Gambetta, a company owned by Don and Catherine Arnold who also run nursing agency Nurse on Call, had sought a relaxation of a condition imposed by An Bord Pleanála in 2018.

Gambetta claimed its plans provided an opportunity to enliven the streetscape along Montague Street and Montague Lane through the development of buildings which had fallen into disrepair.

It claimed the opening of the buildings, one of which is a protected structure, would allow the public to "develop an appreciation and an understanding of Georgian Dublin".

It said it planned that part of the building would be open early in the morning to cater for a breakfast and café trade with the remainder of the development opening in the afternoon.

In the evening the premises would cater for the after-work food and drinks business and also act as "an alternative to the typical 'club' scene with a more integrated casual food with music offering".

However, the council ruled that the omission of the restriction on its opening hours would allow the company to operate the facility as a nightclub or late-night bar and restaurant which would "result in an over-concentration of such land uses on Harcourt Street".

Council planners said there was already an over-concentration of late-night venues on Harcourt Street including Copper Face Jacks, Dicey's, Dtwo, Everleigh and Ohana.

"It is envisioned that a late-night entertainment venue of this scale is likely to add to the substantial noise pollution from patrons entering and exiting premises in the immediate area," the council said.

While the council accepted longer opening hours would have no physical impact on the architectural character of the area, it said an over-concentration of late-night facilities would not be compatible with protecting the civic and historic integrity of Harcourt Street's Georgian Conservation Area and would act against its policy of trying to attract people back to living in such areas.

Last August, An Bord Pleanála upheld the council's decision to refuse Gambetta permission to demolish a number of buildings on Montague Street.

Irish Independent