PLANS to redevelop the Two Mile Inn as a 56-bed nursing home have been frustrated after An Bord Pleanala overturned Clare County Council’s decision to give the scheme the go-ahead.
A number of investors who bought apartments adjacent to the hotel site objected to the proposals and the planning appeals board agreed that granting permission breached a prior planning condition that the site should be used for tourism accommodation or hotel use only.
Part of the Dunne Hotel Group which went into receivership in 2008, the landmark hotel on the Ennis Road closed with the loss of 15 jobs in September 2010. There were a number of subsequent bids for the hotel and an application to develop a nursing home on the site was lodged late in 2011.
In its submission to An Bord Pleanala, developers O’Moradh Construction said they would review “long-term options” over whether to retain a pub or restaurant on the site.
“In the final analysis, demolition of these elements may be the only realistic option having regard to ongoing maintenance and security costs,” the firm said, adding a nursing home was in their view an “appropriate alternative” use for a hotel which had no likelihood of reopening.
The developers also rejected concerns that the nursing home as planned might not comply with HIQA design and layout standards.
At the core of a number of objections was a planning application in 2003 in which permission was granted to develop 56 apartments and suites as part of an aparthotel complex physically linked to the Two Mile Inn. According to documentation submitted with An Bord Pleanala, over 40 investors bought these properties which were intended to be integral to the hotel complex.
But the developers behind the proposed nursing home bought only the hotel and former Thady O’Neill’s pub/restaurant elements of the site.
O’Moradh argued that they had no role in the sale of the adjacent suites and should not be hindered by objections relating to the status outside the site on which they were planning to build the nursing home.
The apartments, they added, continued to operate in spite of the fact that the hotel had now been closed for more than two years, an assessment with which Clare County Council agreed when it originally granted permission.
Planning inspector Keith Sargent considered the 2003 condition that that development be used for “tourist/hotel accommodation purposes only” to be a central issue.
While that application related to a larger site than the one currently under consideration, Mr Sargent stated that “the integrity” of the previous planning permission could not be “unilaterally set aside by the arbitrary or other subdivision of the site by residential owners or a commercial owner or receiver”.