Wexford County Council has granted planning permission for the demolition of the Crown Live premises on Commercial Quay to make way for a new purpose-built pub and music venue but has specified that an archaeologist must be present during all ground work as the site is in an area of historic potential.
The planning authority has also specified that an extensive artwork which the developers Coant Entertainments Ltd with an address at Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy, are planning to feature on the front wall of the new building, must be agreed in advance with the Council, along with any associated lighting, in the interest of visual amenity.
A preliminary report prepared by by John Purcell Archaeological Consulting said the site which was reclaimed from the sea in the 18th and 19th centuries includes a late 19th century structure with no earlier fabric visible. A first edition Ordnance Survey Map shows a courthouse at the site.
Although the building is located outside the medieval town of Wexford, it is an area of high potential, according to Mr Purcell, and may contain fish traps, quay walls or other finds. Artefacts may have been dumped or washed in from the sea and as a result of this, archaeological monitoring was recommended.
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht was consulted on the development and recommended the appointment of a qualified archaeologist.
In addition, planners asked the developers to address a concern by neighbour David O'Connor of 18 Commercial Quay about a loss of natural light having a possible negative effect on his barber's business and also the danger of damage being caused to his premises during construction.
Planners described his concerns as valid and asked the developer to address them by making changes to the design of the first and second floors, allowing light into the adjoining premises, and this was considered satisfactory.
The planned development will take the form a large building over three stories with a stage on the ground floor, seating and toilets on first floor and further seating and standing area on the second floor.
A planning inspector said it should sit comfortably with the existing built environment when viewed from Ardcavan/Wexford Bridge. It will look very different when seen from the south east along the quays as the entire depth of the new building will be three-storey in height as opposed to the existing single storey to the rear. 'Notwithstanding his, I consider it to be an acceptable design' said the inspector.
The building will wrap around Mr. O'Connor's property at number 18 at each of the three storey levels whereas it currently only wraps around the rear of numbers 18 and 19 at ground floor level.
Another condition imposed by planners is that no music speakers or sound amplification of any kind are to be placed on the external walls of the venue, in the interest of residential amenity and no advertisement signs (including ones visible through windows), banners, canopies or flags are allowed. Noise levels must be controlled during demolition and construction and before work starts, a noise trial test must be carried out and the results agreed with the local authority. As the site is in a flood risk area, it is proposed to install flood defence barriers. Efforts must also be made to maintain light to the rear windows of properties on Monck Street during the construction. The planning permission includes minor alterations to an existing stairwell in the adjoining Crown Bar and Spice restaurant building.