Galway City Council has refused permission to convert a building in Eyre Square into a “boutique hotel”, and add a new extension to it.
A planning application was submitted for a Change of Use to 23 Eyre Square, a three storey mid-terrace building that is currently of office and residential use, into a “boutique hotel”.
The project would have involved demolishing an existing two-storey extension to the rear of the building, and constructing a new four-storey extension to replace it.
All told, the development would have had 23 bedrooms, along with a kitchen and dining facilities.
The building in question at 23 Eyre Square is a Protected Structure, and is also within an Architectural Conservation Area, Eyre Square.
“Our proposal involves the upgrading and conservation of the existing four-storey terrace building to provide eight en-suite bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and associated works,” a Design Statement for the project said.
“The original terrace and its features will be preserved, improved, and enhanced allowing for future use and enjoyment of No 23 and Eyre Square as it was originally intended.”
An Architectural Heritage Impact Assessment report was submitted with this planning application.
The city council’s planning inspector raised concerns over the fact that 15 of the hotel bedrooms would have been located in the rear extension, with a “narrow light well”.
“It is considered that this is a poor quality of design and accommodation for a hotel on Eyre Square and is not considered that this is reflective of a hotel looking onto Eyre Square which is also a protected structure.”
Objections to this planning application were made by An Taisce, and by the solicitors firm next door in 22 Eyre Square, who expressed concerns about the loss of light and privacy from the overlooking four-storey extension
The city council refused planning permission on the grounds that the proposed extension to the Protected Structure was of excessive scale, and also had “poor form, layout and design”.
The design of the extension would be against the city Development Plan’s requirement that any change doesn’t “detract from the character or setting” of the original building.
The council also said that the density of the proposed development was “substantially in excess” of a permissible plot ratio.
The Fire Authority submitted a report to the council which also said that the project as submitted was not compliant with fire safety regulations.