McGregor denied permission for “Ibiza-style” hotel in Howth

Mike Finnerty 08 May 2024

Fingal County Council has refused permission for a boutique-style hotel in Howth owned by MMA star Conor McGregor.

McGregor’s business, G Boppers LTD, was denied permission by Fingal County Council following complaints and objections from local residents and organisations

Local residents objected to the development going ahead, with one local resident expressing fears of “Ibiza-style parties” taking place at the hotel.

Fingal County Council refused permission on the grounds that the planned location of the hotel on Church Street would “interfere with the character of the landscape.”

The Council also ruled that the proposed development would be in breach of the development plan set out by Fingal County Council.

The hotel was slated to have 35 bedrooms, a pub, a restaurant and a 122 square metre residents’ terrace area.

Permission was refused by the planning authority after they contended there was “an absence of a high-quality architectural approach to justify demolishing an existing significant building.

The plans attracted 19 third-party submissions in total, with objections coming from various local organisations and groups along with local residents. 

In her submission, local resident Monica Lambert, said she objected to the “unprecedentedly large roof garden/beer garden”.

“While it is softly couched as a garden for residents it will without doubt be used as a beer and party garden reminiscent of Ibiza parties,” she said in her submission. 

“This is a quiet residential area and the current proposal is unprecedented and wholly out of character with a quiet residential area.”

Local Green Party councillor David Healy said he agreed with other submissions, saying they  “correctly point out that the site is within the Howth Historic Core Architectural Conservation Area and that it is in the line of important views marked variously in the County Development Plan and in the Statement of Character of the Howth Historic Core Architectural Conservation Area.”

He said that the proposed development would “not be in keeping with the ACA designation.”

P&L Rickard of Dunbo Hill, Howth told the council that the proposal is “out of scale,” “oversized,” and “nondescript”.

Local resident Noel Loftus’s submission read that he resides next door to the proposed hotel and said he agreed with “many aspects” of the development, he strongly objected to the outdoor terraced balcony.

Resident Siobhan Clifford wrote “Fingal’s villages and towns need their ACAs to be honoured by Government Policy and Fingal Planners. Objectives put into County Development Plans also need to be honoured. Why does Fingal County Council write such objectives in their CDP and then proceed to contravene them in subsequent decisions?”

Clifford wrote “the direct Dart line will cease to function for it is being replaced by a shuttle service and yet developers were allowed to refer to “the good infrastructure” of our direct train service as a plus in their planning applications.”

She noted that the shuttle services were objected to by residents of Howth and Howth Junction residents and the increased traffic that comes with the hotel would “only promote the continued use of cars as a means of transport by residents of Howth.”

“The bus service to Howth at present is unreliable daily due to Bus Eireann staff shortages. It is essential that Fingal honour its own County Development Plan Policies and objectives and make decisions in accordance with these to prevent further “attrition” of our ACA.”

“I agree that Howth’s charm lies in the unexpected quaint views & streetscapes that greet people in the ACA & that if Tourism is to be encouraged in Howth this area & others like it particularly in the ACA should be protected,” she said.

St. Lawrence Quay Management Ltd, which made a submission on behalf of 18 Harbour Road apartment owners, expressed concerns that the roof terrace would result in late-night noise and “create a nuisance” for local residents. 

Brona Carton, who made the submission on their behalf, said that the proposed roof terrace for hotel residents’ use would result in an increase in noise in the area creating a nuisance for local residents and would “late into the night.”

Their objection read “the high-level roof terrace will overlook domestic properties in the area, including their gardens and terraces. This will result in the loss of privacy for those properties.”

The local Hillwatch group objected on the grounds that “the bland exterior design of the proposed new building particularly its Church Street elevation – is totally unacceptable. We urge that the proposed finish, both to Harbour Road and Church Street, be reworked in close collaboration with Fingal Architectural Heritage officers.”

Resident Rosmaire De Bhaldraithe wrote that there were local concerns over noise disruption and anti-social behaviour from the hotel.

“Church Street and the adjoining Dunbo Hill are residential areas so the addition of a garden terrace would have a significant negative impact on the peace and tranquillity in the area.”

“As primary access to the hotel is proposed to be from Church Street this causes a concern for residents in terms of traffic and parking. Parking is already very limited in this area and the potential for access to the private entrance/driveway of Dunbo Cottage to be hindered due to traffic in and out of the hotel is a real concern.”

Locals Michael and Pamela Hilliard wrote that should the hotel proceed, it would detract from Howth’s traditional image as a seaside fishing village.

“The design of the proposed development is completely at odds with the surrounding buildings and might be more at home on a city street,” they wrote.

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