AN BORD PLEANÁLA has given the green light to a ‘super-pub’ in the Camden Street area of south Dublin to UK pub giant JD Wetherspoon.
The appeals board has granted planning permission for a €4 million development at Camden Hall that also includes a 98-bedroom hotel, despite local concerns that the pub would be part of a continuing trend “to completely alcoholise Camden Street”.
The board ruling represents a comprehensive planning victory for JD Wetherspoon as the ruling omits a planning condition imposed by Dublin City Council seeking to curtail the size of the pub.
The City Council ruled that a 244 sq m ‘dining area’ and courtyard with tables and chairs be omitted from the plan. However, this has been overturned on appeal.
Already, JD Wetherspoon operates five pubs in the Republic – four in Dublin and one in Cork.
A spokesman for the UK-based company described the ruling as “great news”, stating that the project will lead to 200 jobs. He said that the firm hopes to commence work on the project “sooner rather than later”.
A map that JD Wetherspoon lodged with the proposal identified that there were already 12 bars on Camden Street/Wexford Street and 36 cafés and restaurants in the wider area.
‘Detrimental to the character of the area’
Local man and appellant Barry Chambers told An Bord Pleanála that allowing another pub in the area, “not to mention the large-scale drinking established being proposed, would be seriously detrimental to the residential amenity and character of the area”.
He was one of a number of local residents to oppose the plan.
In his appeal, Chambers argued that “drink-fuelled, ever-increasing noise, nuisance and anti-social behaviour, ranging from the benign to the very serious which goes hand in hand with the drinking culture has already, regrettably, started to change the character of the area for the worse”.
“The introduction of a super pub selling cheap alcohol into the melting pot does not bear thinking.”
Chambers said that the area is densely populated with young families and “it is sincerely hoped that we do not go further down the Temple Bar route – an area that has been blighted by the over concentration of pubs and late night drinking”.
In a rebuttal to Chambers’ appeal, JD Wetherspoon said that to imply that the proposal includes a super-pub “is disingenuous, misleading and clearly not the case”.
Wetherspoon stated that the proposal “is not intended as a late-night destination with the latest expected opening hours to be at 12.30am at the weekends”.
“The venue will be focused on the service of food with a complementary drinks service and will play no amplified music,” it said.
The pub firm stated that there is not an over-concentration of pubs in the area.
The board gave the plan the go-ahead after ruling that it would not adversely affect the character or architectural significance of the historic buildings on site, would not seriously injure the amenities of properties in the vicinity and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience.