Tuesday 22 October 2019

Seafront ex-gym to become residential

The building at the seafront in Wicklow town.
The building at the seafront in Wicklow town.

Myles Buchanan

An Bord Pleanála has overturned a decision by Wicklow County Council refusing permission to change the usage of a building on Wicklow's sea front from a gym to residential.

Last year Maurice Sheehy applied to Wicklow County council for a change of use of a building previously used as a gym to residential building consisting of four apartments at ground floor level with private terracing, with unchanged plans granted to two apartments with balconies and changes to roof profile at first floor level, alterations to external facades including windows, doors, eternal wall rendering and associated works.

However, the local authority planning section refused permission on the grounds that the development was considered contrary to the harbour strategy in place as part of the Wicklow town and Rathnew Development Plan 2013-2019 and was also considered contrary to the Town Centre zoning objective.

An appeal was lodged with An Bord Pleanála, who back in August of 2017 gave permission for a change of use at the same premises from gym to a mixed development consisting of licensed restaurant/café, beach shop with take-away facility, and function room, all at ground floor level, and two one-bedroom apartments at first floor level, and alterations to external facades.

After examining the new appeal, an inspector from An Bord Pleanála found that 'residential' was acceptable in the context of the site being zoned Town Centre, with the objective to preserve, improve and provide for town centre uses

According to the Inspector's report: 'The Plan, while identifying this site as an 'opportunity site' does not include specific requirements in relation to the use of the site. The predominant pattern of development in the surrounding area is residential and the Board has previously permitted residential use on the site in the context of a mixed use development'.

The site is zoned Town Centre with the objective to preserve, improve and provide for Town Centre uses. Residential is an acceptable use in the context of a mix of uses. The site is identified as an 'opportunity site' in the Plan.

The development was also found to be acceptable with regard to the Port, Harbour and Quays strategy, which allows for expansion and improvement of amenity and recreational opportunities and for the development of a wider mix of uses including residential, retail/commercial and community uses. The board, on recommendation from the inspector's report, grated permission for the change of use.

Wicklow People