PLANS for the development of outdoor seating on Ennis’ main thoroughfare by one of the county’s best-known hotels have been given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála.
Duesbury Limited had originally been granted planning permission by Ennis Town Council to convert an on-street parking space to facilitate outdoor seating on O’Connell Street outside the Old Ground Hotel. Permission had also been granted for the provision of fascia signage and surround to the existing central doorway and the incorporation of the existing Poet’s Corner porch within the main bar area.
The granting of permission was appealed by local businessman Oliver Moylan of the Ennis Cash Co Company.
Among the points made in his appeal, Mr Moylan stated that the loss of “valuable” on-street parking was not justified with surveys indicating a lack of parking is deterring shoppers. Mr Moylan stated the development could result in a yearly loss of €1 million of sales in the town due to loss of car parking.
He argued the proposal would be prejudicial to public safety and that developments had been refused in this area due to concerns about interference with the protected streetscape. He stated that the planning authority had previously refused a private/commercial incursion on private property, when in 1960, Woolworths had looked for 2ft of the O’Connell monument area. “It is not for the public authority to grant public space for this private enterprise,” he stated.
Responding to the appeal, the planning authority in a letter-headed Clare County Council denied the authority is ceding the public roadway to a private entrepreneur. The monetary business value attributed to the single car-parking space by Mr Moylan’s appeal was also denied. The planning authority disagreed that the granting of permission shows no great advantage in keeping the business of Ennis alive.
Following an inspection of the site, An Bord Pleanála decided on a split planning decision. The granting of permission for the conversion of the parking space for outdoor seating as well as the incorporation of the Poet’s Corner porch with the main bar was upheld, subject to conditions. However, the provision of fascia signage and surround to the existing central doorway was refused.
In making its decision, the board had regard to the zoning provisions of the current development plan in the area; the location of the site within an Architectural Conservation Area and the pattern of development in the area.
The board stated in relation to the permission granted for the outdoor seating area and incorporation of Poet’s Corner, that subject to conditions, “This element of the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of the property in the vicinity, would not adversely affect the architectural heritage or the area, would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
Conditions include that there be no retractable canopies attached to the facade of the building save with a prior grant of planning permission; that the proposed new paving match the existing footpath and that the developer pay a financial contribution to the palnning authority in respect of public infrastructure and facilities in accordance with the Development Contribution Scheme.
Outlining the board’s reasons for refusing the provision of fascia signage and surround to the existing doorway, it was stated, “Having regard to the location of the proposed signage on a protected structure within an Architectural Conservation Area as designaged in the current development plan for the area, it is considered that it would have a detrimental impact on the architectural character of this important streetscape, which would seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity and would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”