No High Court action over Bono's Clarence Hotel expansion
A HIGH Court action over the refusal of a €150m plan to transform Dublin's Clarence Hotel, whose owners include U2's Bono and the Edge, is not going ahead.
Last August, lawyers for the Clarence Partnership, whose shareholders are listed as Bono, his wife Ali Hewson, The Edge, financier Derek Quinlan, and developer Paddy McKillen, got High Court permission to challenge Dublin City Council's refusal to a extend the life of a redevelopment planning permission which was obtained five years ago.
Permission was granted for a €150m plan to transform the four-star 44-bedroom premises into an eight-storey, 141-bedroom, five-star hotel and spa, with a new restaurant, bar and fresh food market. It was designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster.
Last March, the partnership sought to extend the the duration of the existing planning permission which is required to be renewed on a five yearly basis.
The council's refusal was on the grounds that the proposed eight-storey building exceeded the maximum height permissible at the location on Wellington Quay under the Dublin City Development Plan.
Today, when the action was briefly mentioned before the High Court, John Gallagher SC, for the council, said the partnership was not proceeding with the case, and with the consent of both parties the matter could be struck out.
No order for costs was required, counsel added.
Last August, the court heard the ambitious project for the hotel, which backs on to Essex Street in Temple Bar, had been shelved in 2009 because of economic circumstances beyond the control of the partnership.
It was argued the council was obliged to extend the life of the planning permission if it was satisfied there were considerations of a commercial, economic or technical nature beyond the control of the applicant which militated against commencement of work.
After an extension of the permission was sought, the council asked for further information to demonstrate that the height of the proposed development, which includes an elliptical, flying saucer-like roof known as a “skycatcher”, was in accordance with the city development plan.
Following the partnership’s response, the council refused the application to extend the permission because the proposed new eight-storeys exceeded the maximum height permissible at the location under the development plan.
The partnership claimed the regulations governing residential development curtail heights to six storeys and to seven storey for office development. The plan did not curtail the height of a hotel but the council’s planning officer had considered that a hotel was akin to a commercial development.
It was argued the council had erred in law in interpreting the maximum permissible height.