The duo behind a new 'superpub' on Dublin's Harcourt Street is appealing its refusal

The strip is already home to Copper Face Jacks and several other venues.

By Gordon Deegan

THE OWNERS OF the Nurse On Call agency have brought their fight to build a new ‘superpub’ on Dublin’s Harcourt Street to An Bord Pleanála.

Gambetta Ltd, run by Don and Catherine Arnold, the couple behind the nursing agency, has appealed last month’s decision by Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission for a new large-scale bar and restaurant complex on the corner of Montague St.

The local authority ruled that the proposal would constitute a superpub and that the development would “lead to an over-concentration of licensed premises in this area of the city”.

Harcourt Street has several nightclubs and late-night bars including the well-known Copper Face Jacks. The council also stated that the pub’s large external seating area would generate noise pollution.

The local authority made its decision after an objection from the owners of a neighbouring building. Wolfe Development complained its front entrance suffered from “litter, vomiting and general vandalism” from those exiting late-night spots on the strip.

However, the Arnolds’ Gambetta argued in their appeal that the plan cannot be considered a superpub as there would be “significant areas … largely dedicated to seating areas for customers who will be availing of the established food offering”.

A positive contribution

Consultants for Gambetta said the floor areas have been greatly reduced from a previously lodged plan while allowing for a proposal that is both commercially viable and presents a positive contribution to the area.

The report said the proposal “is for the limited expansion of established uses and that the development of the properties will have significant positive effects both on the streetscape and on the integrity of the protected structures themselves”.

The consultants accepted the proposed development was close to other bars on Harcourt Street but added the proposed café-bar is based on the ‘European model’ of a more informal dining experience, together with fine wines and a bespoke cocktail offering.

The planning appeal said the proposed concept also includes a live music-DJ offering set in a ‘casual, relaxed setting’ – as opposed to a typical club environment.

The appeal said the proposal won’t have a detrimental impact on the established character of the area and will upgrade the appearance of the building in a sensitive manner, while opening the complex up once again to public activity.

Gambetta added that the proposal seeks to upgrade the buildings which are derelict, under-utilised and require extensive repair works. A decision is due on the appeal in January of next year.

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