Words: Eva O’Beirne
A scaled-back version of the original 114-bedroom, nine-storey scheme has been proposed in order for the project to get a green light.
C+W O’Brien Architects, who are employed by developers Marron Estates Ltd, told An Bord Pleanála that the company is now proposing a seven-storey scheme over the protected pub in Smithfield.
These scaled-back plans for a hotel over the Cobblestone will supposedly ensure that the pub’s important cultural offering will be maintained, according to the project’s architects. The project received over 700 objections when the proposal was first brought to DCC.
In order to circumvent the initial rejection of the hotel, the architects have proposed “the retention of the entire Cobblestone pub over all floors at basement, ground and first and second floors”. Marron Estates has also proposed to retain and relocate the iconic back room area to “a purpose-built performing space contained within the retained historic yard to the rear of the site”.
The removal of the back room area of the pub was a controversial component of the original scheme and was also a specific ground of refusal by DCC. The council said the loss of the back room, which is used for teaching, rehearsal and performance of trad music, would lead to a significant decline in the capital’s culture.
This new proposal would still cause the loss of the space due to construction.
DCC previously stated that the original nine-storey over-basement development “would be overbearing and significantly out of scale and character with the prevailing architectural context, and would represent substantial over-development of this highly sensitive site”.
A total of 717 objections were lodged against the scheme but the victory of saving The Cobblestone was short lived as Marron Estates Ltd lodged a first party appeal against the decision to refuse planning permission in December.
A decision is due on the appeal in April of this year, and parties can make submissions to the appeals board on the appeal lodged. For more information on submissions, click here.
The continuous public outcry against the proposal has been deafening. Those who objected to the scheme included Steve Wall, a founding member of The Stunning and The Walls. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, People Before Profit/Solidarity TD Richard Boyd Barrett and Green MEP Ciaran Cuffe also registered their objections to the proposal
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