Apartment plan: the former Clarion Suites apart-hotel at the Ennis Road, which has not been operational since 2010
CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert an old hotel into an apartment complex have been referred back to An Bord Pleanala.
It comes with the developer questioning how much, if anything, he might have to make available to the council under part five legislation, which allows local authorities to purchase up to 10% of housing developments at cost value, rather than full market value.
More than 50 people objected to proposals by Eoin Ryan, the statutory receiver to Budelli Construction, who is seeking planning permission to convert the former Clarion Suites apart-hotel at the Ennis Road into 61 apartments.
In addition to this, the application also provides for four new apartments at the neighbouring Ard Hu House, plus nine two-storey dwelling houses to be built on site.
Despite this, both Limerick City and County Council and An Bord Pleanala gave the project the green light.
Now, at the request of the receiver, Limerick council has queried part of the planning permission to An Bord Pleanala for determination.
The applicant is questioning whether a part five obligation should apply to the whole building or just part of the building.
They are trying to determine if Ardhu House and the former Clarion Suites Hotel should be regarded as one building in this instance, or whether the two should be counted separately, and both be subject to the 10% rule – or indeed, whether it should apply at all.
This is on the basis of the fact the fact the two buildings were linked during the time the complex was operational as the Clarion Suites apart-hotel up to 2010.
In a letter to Limerick City and County Council, Dianne McDonogh of Town and Country Resources Ltd, acting for Mr Ryan, cited section 96 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
This is that section five should not apply where buildings are being converted or reconstructed to create one or more dwellings “provided 50% or more of the existing external fabric is maintained”.
”In this regard, therefore, the applicant wishes to seek confirmation from the planning authority that the premises, comprising Ardhu House and the ‘aparthotel block’, may be regarded as one building by reason of the internal link corridor which still remains at the time of writing, and which is to be removed as part of the permitted scheme. If it is the case the premises is to be regarded as ‘one building’, the applicant notes the provisions of part five shall not apply provided more than 50% or more of the external fabric of the building is retained,” the letter states.
Limerick City and County Council referred the case to An Bord Pleanala to make a final determination on the matter.