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Objections to hotel conversion plans

THE owner of five apart-hotel bedroom suites in a complex adjoining the former Two Mile Inn Hotel in Meelick believes the conversion of the hotel into a convalescent home could invalidate planning for his property.

In an objection lodged with An Bord Pleanála, Leslie McCarthy from Kilcullen in County Kildare outlined his concerns on how the change of use of the former hotel could impact on planning for the suites complex.
Mr McCarthy said a condition of planning for the suites was that they could only be used for tourist-hotel accommodation purposes.
“I am concerned that if the change of use is upheld, it will effectively mean that the county council has removed planning permission from the suites. It is clear from an examination of the planning file that the council had advised that the suites should not be used for permanent habitation, even from the initial pre-planning meetings,” he added.
Another objector, chartered engineer Jason Redmond has claimed the grant of planning for the conversion of the hotel into a convalescent home means that only short-stay patients can be accommodated at the facility.
Mr Redmond has asserted that a convalescent centre is not recognised as a designated care centre under the Health Act and, therefore, can only provide a dedicated convalescent care service on a short-term basis.
Mr Redmond, of Portlaoise-based Jason Redmond and Associated Consulting Engineers, pointed out that convalescent centres are not the sole place of residence for any of the residents and none of the residents are deemed to be persons “living in and provided with services” as defined by the act.
“Accordingly, only short-stay patients can be accommodated at this facility, as the description of the application limits the activity allowed as granted planning permission,” he added.
Mr Redmond also maintained that the current layout of the building is substandard for its intended use.
Developers O’Moradh Construction Ltd were given the green light by Clare County Council for a material change of use of the hotel to a convalescent home and other developments, including the construction of an outdoor, fenced children’s play area.
The project also makes provision for the construction of a dining room extension to the side of the existing rear wing of the premises, the construction of a staff room and toilets to the rear of the existing main bar area, remedial internal modification works and the demolition of the existing water tower structure.
Mr Redmond claimed the service proposed is one of short-term care for convalescence and not long-term care provision.
“This will have an impact on the viability of the proposal and should be addressed by means of a sustainability statement, as there are considerable existing nursing homes serving County Limerick, Limerick City and County Clare,” he stressed.
Mr Redmond also questioned if the hotel, developed over some 30 years, complies with current building regulations.
“The application as lodged to Clare County Council is not of a sufficient standard for persons to evaluate and we suggest therefore that the board consider there is sufficient lack of information to adequately assess the proposal.
“A grant of planning permission would essentially release the applicant to carry out internal works at their discretion. In granting planning permission, it places the building control department in an erroneous position of being granted planning and therefore should be granted a Fire Safety Certificate, coupled with a Disability Access Certificate.
“It is suggested that the current layouts are substandard for the intended use, the intended use by the description of the application is limited to short-term care, as such may not be sustainable and should be addressed by means of a sustainability statement, backed by statistics from HIQA/HSE requirements,” he outlined.


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