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Saturday 23 September 2017

Wetherspoon gets green light for new super-pub on Camden Street

Proposed site of the pub
Proposed site of the pub

An Bord Pleanala has given the green light to pub giant JD Wetherspoon for a super-pub on Dublin's Camden Street.

The appeals board approved planning permission for the €4m development at Camden Hall, which also includes a 98-bedroom hotel, in spite of 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 Dub- lin City Council seeking to curtail the size of the pub.

The council ruled that a 244 square metre dining area and courtyard with tables and chairs be omitted from the plan.

However, this has been overturned on appeal.

Wetherspoon already operates five pubs in Ireland, four in Dublin and one in Cork.

A spokesman for the UK-based chain described the Camden Hall ruling as "great news", adding that the project will lead to the creation of 200 jobs.

He said the firm hopes to begin work on the project "sooner rather than later".

Wetherspoon lodged a map showing that there are already 12 bars on Camden Street/Wexford Street and 36 cafes and restaurants in the wider area.

Local man and appellant Barry Chambers told An Bord Pleanala that allowing another pub in the area "not to mention the large-scale drinking establishment being proposed, would be seriously detrimental to the residential amenity and character of the area".

Nuisance

Mr Chambers was one of a number of local residents to oppose the plan.

In his appeal, he 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".

He added: "The introduction of a super-pub selling cheap alcohol into the melting pot does not bear thinking."

Mr Chambers pointed out 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".

In a rebuttal to Mr Chambers' appeal, Wetherspoon said that to imply the proposal includes a super-pub "is disingenuous, misleading and clearly not the case".

It 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".

It added: "The venue will be focused on the service of food with a complementary drinks service and will play no amplified music."

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.

It also ruled that the plan would not seriously injure the amenities of properties in the vicinity, and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety.

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