One of the country's largest property developers, Pat Crean, has secured planning permission to add extra storeys to a €62m high-rise hotel and aparthotel development in Dublin city centre.
Mr Crean's Balark Trading has successfully appealed against the decision of Dublin City Council to refuse the application to build two extra storeys on top of the original nine-storey design for the hotel on Upper Abbey Street.
The ruling by An Bord Pleanala will allow Balark, part of the Marlet property group, to construct an additional 64 bedrooms for the new hotel, bringing the overall accommodation to 303 guest rooms.
The height of the 11-storey building, on the site of a former bus depot, will be 34 metres.
The decision also allows for one additional floor to an adjoining nine-storey aparthotel for which Balark previously secured planning permission.
It will provide for an extra 21 bedrooms, to bring total accommodation in the aparthotel to 277 rooms.
The board ignored the recommendation of its own inspector, as well as objections from An Taisce, in sanctioning the increased height for the two developments
An Taisce claimed the proposal would result in a significant reduction in sunlight and daylight for buildings in the area and would turn the street into a "windy and dark canyon".
Dublin City Council claimed allowing the extra building height would detract from the character of the area, particularly the views around the Liffey quays near the Ha'penny Bridge.
However, An Bord Pleanala said it considered that the proposed development, subject to a number of planning conditions, would not seriously injure the visual amenities of the area, including the adjoining Georgian buildings.
The board said the "revised elevational treatment" of Upper Abbey Street would "make a positive contribution to the streetscape".
The planning inspector said that the height was excessive, while the architectural merit of the building was "not of a significantly high standard".
They said the overall design and scale of the building was "inappropriate".
However, the board said it did not believe the proposed development would lead to an abrupt transition in the height of buildings from Upper Abbey Street to Great Strand Street.
It also expressed satisfaction with the quality of proposed materials to be used.