Developers sought to build an aparthotel on the corner of Francis Street and Mark’s Alley. I think they should build housing there instead.

Below is the observation I sent in: all the documents are here. Dublin City Council rejected planning permission in March 2023.

I am writing in relation to the planning application for a new aparthotel at 92-93 Francis Street, planning reference 3097/23.

Redevelopment of the site – particularly the vacant section – is positive and the designs appear sympathetic to the surrounds. The provision of a café and community space is welcome – although the planning authority should attach clear conditions for the latter’s use and access to it.

That said, the provision of more hotel space at the expense of housing is deeply disappointing. I would direct planners to section 15.14 of the new development plan, which says there will be “a general presumption against an overconcentration of hotels and aparthotels”.

Furthermore, the same section says:

“In all instances, where the planning authority deems there to be an overconcentration of such facilities in an area, the applicant will be requested to submit a report indicating all existing and proposed hotel and aparthotel developments within a 1km catchment providing a justification that the development will not undermine the principles of achieving a balanced pattern of development in the area, and demonstrating that the proposed development fully complies with the criteria set out in Policy CEE28 and in Section and below.”

The application does not include this required report, instead it includes a report (from Crowe Ireland) which simply sets out the case for there being strong demand for hotels in Dublin. This is fine as it is, but has no bearing on the question of overconcentration of hotel/aparthotel development. The above requirement is not for a business case, but a report to prevent overconcentration of hotels in the area. I believe that such an overconcentration exists and that a new application should be made with housing as the primary use.

Overall, development on the site is welcome and the design looks positive, as is the provision of a café and community space at ground level. However the applicants should instead apply for housing on the site, which has a more urgent demand and is not restricted in the development plan.