Words: Ellen Kenny
One less hotel in Dublin is one more thing to be grateful about.
Dublin City Council (DCC) have rejected plans for a hotel and restaurant at Temple Bar’s historic Merchant’s Arch.
The previously-approved hotel was set to be eight rooms and a “boutique” restaurant located at the China Blue shoe shop adjoined to the nineteenth century arch. Four independent shops were set to be demolished within Temple Bar, one of which has been in the area for 20 years.
In a report seen by District Magazine, DCC rejected the plans for the hotel at China Blue due to “significant” concerns of an “overconcentration” of licensed premises in Temple Bar. According to the report: “There are significant concerns that the loss of retail and the provision of an additional licensed premises would negatively impact and further erode the variety and diversity of retail within the designated Temple Bar cultural and artistic quarter where there is already a significant quantum of licensed premises.”
The application was also in conflict with a DDC objective which aims to avoid “the overconcentration and further expansion of licensed premises within the Temple Bar”, the report said. The Temple Bar Residents Association previously objected to the application saying the area is already “awash” with pubs and restaurants and added “nobody could credibly argue that it needs yet another one”.
DCC also explained that the construction necessary to replace the shoe shop with a hotel would “give rise to seriously adverse” impacts on Merchant’s Arch.
The current plan was proposed in August, and was quickly met with protest. By October, over 20,000 had signed a petition objecting to the construction of yet another hotel in Temple Bar.
Similarly, in September 2021, a separate planning proposal to build a hotel at the arch was rejected following a petition that gained 53,000 signatures. People are not going to let go of Merchant’s Arch easily, and are keen to keep the history and culture that has made Dublin an appealing place to visit in tact.
However, the developers may appeal this rejection to An Bord Pleanála, who previously said that a hotel that would lead to the closure of four Temple Bar shops “would not seriously injure the character of the area and would help to promote and facilitate tourism”. So, be prepared for more protesting in the future.
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