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Controversial plans for prominent Temple Bar site approved by council

Local residents fear the proposed hotel and restaurant will be developed as a ‘super-pub’

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The site at Merchant’s Arch currently houses the Irish Pub Shop and several other small commercial units

The site at Merchant’s Arch currently houses the Irish Pub Shop and several other small commercial units

The site at Merchant’s Arch currently houses the Irish Pub Shop and several other small commercial units

Dublin City Council has approved controversial plans for the development of a new hotel and restaurant in Temple Bar which is strongly opposed by local residents who say it is a "Trojan horse" for a “super-pub”.

The council has granted planning permission for a four-storey hotel with restaurant at ground floor level at Merchant’s Arch on the site of a building which houses the Irish Pub Shop and several other small commercial units.

It is the third time the owner of the adjoining Merchant’s Arch pub, Tom Doone, has sought to develop the site which is located in a corner of Temple Bar Square.

An Bord Pleanála has twice upheld appeals against plans to develop a boutique hotel on the site in recent years.

Council planners have approved the latest proposal, despite having asked Mr Doone to revise the plans and explore options for a three-storey building as well as finding an alternative use for the ground floor given the large number of existing restaurants in the area.

However, consultants for the publican resisted the council’s suggested changes, claiming the site was sufficiently wide to accommodate a development of more than three storeys as evidenced by other buildings in the area.

They also argued the council’s suggestion to find a retailer for the ground floor did not make sense given the decline in shopping in the city centre during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The council ruled that, on balance, the proposed development would upgrade a prominent location in the city and would allow for the construction of “a striking and innovative contemporary, modern building”.

However, the decision is likely to face an appeal to An Bord Pleanála given the history of opposition to efforts to develop the site.

Temple Bar Residents claim the proposal for the hotel is a “Trojan horse” for a licensed premises.

The plans are also opposed by Crampton Buildings Residents’ Group which claimed the biggest problem in the area is noise from nearby pubs including Merchant’s Arch as well as fumes and waste from restaurants.

The group said it had the same concerns as with previous plans as residents were worried that the proposed restaurant would inevitably become a licensed premises.

“The whole character of the area where we live has changed beyond recognition over the past 30 years or so,” said the group.

It pointed out that the number of restaurants, cafés and fast food takeaways had increased from 11 in 1984 to 85 by 2019.


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