Limerick hotel to proceed with €3.5m expansion as appeals to plan are ruled out

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

The Limerick Strand Hotel has been given full permission to proceed with its €3.5m expansion Picture: Adrian Butler

The Limerick Strand Hotel has been given full permission to proceed with its €3.5m expansion Picture: Adrian Butler

THE Strand Hotel has been given full permission to proceed with its €3.5m expansion, after two appeals to An Bord Pleanala were ruled out of order.

Management at the city centre hotel are seeking to expand the premises from 184 to 204 rooms, with council giving the proposals conditional permission last month.​

However, a number of local residents appealed against the development – which could bring 15 new jobs – to the local authority, citing fears over increased traffic activity, saying the expansion will see at least 20 extra cars being parked overnight.

One of these appealed to An Bord Pleanala.​

However, the national planning authority wrote back to him, saying his application was invalid, as he had not included a key document with it.

And by the time the local resident did write back to An Bord Pleanala for a second time, the deadline for appeals had passed, in a move which a spokesperson for the body confirmed this Wednesday means there are no appeals.

This leaves the Strand Hotel – which named a new manager in the shape of Stephen O’Connor last week – free to develop.​

The plans will see a new floor added to the north wing of the existing hotel.

It means the height of both sides of the hotel will be equalised.

City businesswoman Helen O’Donnell​ has welcomed the granting of permission, and has urge planners to expedite applications a lot quicker.

“There seems to be an ongoing saga with planning permission in this city. It’s holding up a lot of significant projects. If people look to invest in a city and they find ​there is continual objections, it turns people off. It turns investors off. Limerick is a very positive place to invest in, and we want people to come here,” she said.

City north councillor Vivienne Crowley, a member of the economic committee, had previously welcomed the council’s green light.

She said: “A lot of people are doing more business and you will now find in the middle of the week even all our hotels are fully booked, not just on the weekend.”

“The Strand Hotel is a wonderful spot. They have always treated their staff very well. They are an excellent employer,” she added.

Council gave permission to the Strand to develop with a number of conditions.

These include when builders will be allowed on site to work.