Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby cobalt » Thu May 17, 2007 8:47 am

From today's Irish Times:
Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel
Olivia Kelly

Councillors in Clonmel, Co Tipperary plan to remove a Georgian building from the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) in order to allow the development of a multistorey car park, hotel and shopping centre, which was refused by An Bord Pleanála last week.

An Bord Pleanála upheld appeals by the Department of the Environment and An Taisce against the controversial €40 million development which was approved by Clonmel Borough Council last August.

The council had given planning permission to the Borc Partnership to build a 500-space car park over nine levels, a 2770 sq m shopping centre and an 80-bedroom hotel on a one-acre site in the town centre currently occupied by the Clonmel Arms Hotel.

The hotel is a listed Georgian building and the proposed development would have involved its partial demolition.

An Bord Pleanála refused permission on the grounds of excessive scale and height of the development in the historic town centre and that there were no exceptional circumstances that would permit the demolition of a protected structure.

In its ruling the board also said the development would have an adverse impact on a nearby national monument, the restored 17th century customs house, the Main Guard, and was contrary to council's own development plan for the town.

"The monolithic nature and scale of the proposed development would be out of keeping with its surroundings and would significantly detract from the historic centre of Clonmel in general, and the setting of a national monument," Bord Pleanála inspector Graham Carlisle said.

An emergency meeting of the borough council was held on Tuesday night to discuss the decision. It is understood that councillors had been contacted by the developer last weekend to express his disappointment at the reversal of the council's original planning decision.

A motion was put forward by mayor Phil Prendergast proposing that the hotel should be delisted, to allow plans for the development to be resubmitted. The motion was unanimously agreed by the 12-member council. The proposal will now be put out to public consultation before it can be formally ratified by the council.

The town had been "devastated" by An Bord Pleanála's decision, which had been prompted by unnecessary interference by An Taisce and the Department of the Environment, Ms Prendergast said.

"Clonmel has been demoralised by this negative decision, we really need this centre for investment in Clonmel."

While there was no guarantee that a new application for the same site would be successful, at least the "heritage barrier" had been removed, she said.

A spokesman for An Taisce said yesterday that the council's decision was short-sighted and highlighted its failure to protect national monuments and listed buildings.

"Rather than face up to the reality that this was an ill-advised development they are attempting to accommodate a repeat application that won't succeed."

© 2007 The Irish Times
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby Lotts » Thu May 17, 2007 12:12 pm

Given mayor Phil Prendergast's comments as quoted above, I would question the Labour Party's decision to run her as a candidate for [url=[url]http://www.rte.ie/news/elections2007/Tipperary-South.html[/url]][url]Tipperary South[/url][/URL].

Between that and having to endure Pat Rabbitte's "burger king" style banner draped over the front of liberty hall every day I suspect that Labour would not be the best custodians of our environment, heritage and national planning.

By the way the break down of Clonmel Borough Council (just so you know where the unanimous agreement came from) is as follows:

Phil Prendergast Labour Party
Anne Taylor Labour Party
Darren Ryan Labour Party

Siobhán Ambrose Fianna Fáil
Martin O'Brien Fianna Fáil
Niall Dennehy Fianna Fáil

Sean Nyhan Fine Gael
Denis Dunne Fine Gael

Richie Molloy Progressive Democrats

Pat English Independent
Billy Shoer Independent
Brian O'Donnell Independent
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby PVC King » Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 pm

Quite the list of shame reminds me of http://www.archiseek.com/content/showpost.php?p=35169&postcount=28

Can we rename the thread please; this needs to be watched Clonmel is one of the most important heritage towns in the country

"Cowboy Politics in Clonmel"
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby jackscout » Thu May 17, 2007 12:49 pm

"Pat English Independent " is an architectural draughtsman and is employed by the agent of one of the third parties who appealed the development.

Secondly these same councillors are against high density development (anything above 10 to the acre ) or anything greater than 2 storey houses.
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby blaise » Thu May 31, 2007 5:18 pm

just proves that the stone throwers arent fit to manage themselves. Can the minister not call in this decision to delist, I suppose he couldnt be bothered. Its amazing that a council would assist a developer in such a way. "The Heriatge barrier" as on e councillor called it must surely be a saying for our times.
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby henno » Thu May 31, 2007 7:22 pm

let me first say that i have absolutely no issue with the protecting of significant architectural structures throughout the country, however more often than not signitifcant urban renewal is hindered by the apparant paranoia to knock down tattered old buildings of little or no architectural importance.... therefore i say, its about time someone stood up against the anti-develpoment policies of An Taisce... its a pity they have to go to such convoluted process to be permitted to demolish a building.....

the main problem i see here is the ease at which councils include buildings onto their 'protected' list without thought and foresight as to the consequences of this action. major significant architectural sites throughout the country are stiffled from development because some single storey cottage type 50's building has a timber shop front on it.......

can someone describe to me the process the council have to go through to 'list' a structure?? it seems the only criteria needed is the building needs to be pre 63 and theyre slapping protection titles all over it...
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby Lotts » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:05 am

henno wrote:major significant architectural sites throughout the country are stiffled from development because some single storey cottage type 50's building has a timber shop front on it.......



Can you give any example where this has actually happened as you describe?
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby Davids » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:28 am

Henno, I have been thinking the same. I am not familiar with the building that is the subject of this thread so I cannot comment on its importance but I certainly do question the architectural merit of many structures/items that Councils slap a protection order on.
Just maybe, maybe the Council got this one right? The design of the proposed structure is a seperate issue.
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:53 am

henno wrote:can someone describe to me the process the council have to go through to 'list' a structure?? it seems the only criteria needed is the building needs to be pre 63 and theyre slapping protection titles all over it...

Hope this helps: http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?p=46136
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby henno » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:01 am

Lotts wrote:Can you give any example where this has actually happened as you describe?


i can give you an example of one that im working on right now....

Image

the facade of the building on the left is protected. the building is on the main street in Abbeyleix, Co. Laois. in a strategic corner site opposite the highly significant and interesting AIB bank (on the RHS).... and forming a promenade to the RC church (shown in background).....

Image

this is another angle showing more of the main street....



Our proposal was to demolish this building and construct a modern 'book-end' type building... however we have been advised by both the planning authority and the heritage council that the chances of getting permission to demolish this building is practically non-existant..... regardless of the actual architectural significance of it... i have contacted the Architectural Heritage Advisory Unit, and while they did not sound hopeful, they advised that i send off proposals to them....
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby blaise » Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:01 pm

Henno

What do you define as a significant building? The idea that only churches and the big house are worthy of protection is outdated. Modest 19th century vernacular builings like the one in your photograph also make a contribution to the character of our towns ,so to suggest that we should only preserve the top tiers of historic buildings is as outmoded a concept as facadism. The problem in Ireland today is that vernacular buildings such as this one, which positively contribute to the townscape, are being replaced with "architect designed" non descript timber clad monstrosities that look totally out of place in rural towns and are more suited to a city environment. If you travel across the rest of Europe you will find that simple vernacular buildings built by locals using local materials are highly valued and sought after. However , sadly it seems that in Ireland we are prepared to destroy what future generations may value for the sake of often illusory gain. In my view the problem with Heritage protection in this country is that it is left up to the local authority to decide what merits addition to the RPS (record of protected structures) and in many cases they do not have the staff or resources to carry out this role adequately. A centralised listing body like they have in most other western countries would remove a scenario like that in Clonmel where a Georgian building faces an uncertain future purely to facilitate a local builder and not because of its lack of architectural merit. It is a mark of a country who respects its heritage but unfortunately in modern Ireland some like Cllr Prendergast see it as the "Heritage barrier".
None of what I said above should be construed as antidevelopment and should not preclude it, just do it in a sustainable manner. If Clonmel needs a shopping centre or a carpark then a suitable site should be found , not one that happens to be owned by a speculator.:(
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby henno » Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:34 pm

Blaise,
i thank you for your input, since this first emerged ive learnt a huge amount regarding conservationism and the theory behind this..... however my initial opinion still stands.

what i consider 'significant' is a building that, by merit of its citing and design, contributes positively to its surroundings, be it urban or rural. The description youve given above about 'vernacular buildings' is the exact problem i see with the system. Just because a building was built a certian time period in the past using (maybe) local material and local workmanship, should, in my opinion, not be case for retaining it in lieu of appropriate development... that is a human trait called 'hoarding', which can sometimes be pathological. I believe 'vernacular' should be an organic term that progresses and develops over the passage of time. The vernacular of streets should be allowed to progress. This of course, is my opinion, im not qualified in this department, but i would like to be considered to have enough knowledge to recognise that the situation ive given you above is improper. there has been so much ignorant work done to the building over the years to leave it insignificant... just because the walls may be wattle shouldnt be a reason to save it from the sledge....
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby Hiivaladan » Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:55 pm

I do not know the building in question and can give no opinion on the merits of the development . But this much is obvious:as long as local authorities have the power to list or de-list no historic building is safe.This power should be taken away from them post haste. It is obvious that it is being, and will be abused, given the appalling propensity for venality,short-sightedness, development mania and ignorance among Irish county councillors. We don't allow the members of councils to decide on the merits of biological, botanical and natural planning criteria (ie, they're not allowed to de-list wetlands and forests ) so why should people that are, to be blunt,in many cases ignorant fools be allowed the power over our built heritage.:mad:
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby henno » Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:01 pm

does anyone know of any structure that was de-listed by a council????

the above post is a bit sensationalist in that respect.....
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:54 am

Hiivaladan's post is sadly all to accurate, henno.

Curious to know what you thought of the content of the post I linked to above, given that it was info you requested specifically.
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby blaise » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:11 am

henno

Your point is fair enough and well put. To be honest I have seen much better buildings being given the green light for demolition but the overall feeling of disatisfaction with the performance of our councils in protecting heritage is notable. groups like an taisce are somewhat portrayed as being very antidevelopment but if you look at the figure they only make comments on a tiny fraction of planning applications.

Robert
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby henno » Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:38 pm

your post in the link is an excellent synopsis of the process ctesiphon... thank you for it....

however, i was in informed by a heritage officer yesterday that the NIAH is not a statutory list, the RPS is the statutory instrument. While it is very hard for an unworthy structure to be included in the NIAH, unfortunately, as you eluded to in your first paragraph, the list complied in the 70's was pretty informal and lacked in-depth recording.... thats exactly my problem with the example ive given... the building doesn't have a NIAH number, it has a low generation RPS number meaning it must have been one of the first on the list in the county... and you can see with the way the list was constructed that it was simply someone moving geographically through the towns in the county...... noting buildings in an ad hoc manner... typical Irish solution to an Irish problem...

you argue in your post By highlighting good work, notable historic sites, innovative practices and design, it would be hoped that the wider public should gain an understanding of what constitutes the best of Irish Architectural Heritage.... i agree with that ideal completely. however that does not mean that there are buildings 'protected' that do not offer anything of what you've described, and are just listed simply because of their age......

we all know the consequences of a building being included on the RPS list.... its paramount that there is some procedure to allow owners apply to get their building de-listed because, as has been argued above, not every building deserves to be on the list, either simply by not being investigated fully or by being erroneously included....

i would take issue with a bland statement that councilors are 'ignorant fools'..... again, has any ever heard of a deserving building being de-listed to promote development??? i surely haven't and the heritage officer i was talking to yesterday couldn't give me one example either... councilors are not going to de-list a building to accommodate private development...


it gets even more frustrating when clients are put through bureaucratic and paranoid hoops when applying to carry out works to protected structures, trying to breath life into a derelict shell... only for their efforts to be thwarted and opposed at every turn... the end result almost always being the client running from the project because of all the opposition they face during the process.....
i had another experience of a client wanting to sensitively convert a derelict 1840's Georgian building into apartments, the ground floor of which was below the 'design freeboard' level of a flood plain... the floors couldn't be altered because of its protected status and the council wouldn't give permission as it was a flood risk, therefore the building continues to lie derelict and decrepit for the foreseeable future..... because the building cannot be developed.
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby Hiivaladan » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:23 pm

Unless my memory fails me, I am aware of at least three examples-reported in the Irish Times, I'm certain-in the West of Ireland, of attempts to de-list buildings to facilitate developments. I will try to check on this. As for "Ignorant Fools"..let's see Kerry County Council ring any bells? Have Irish councillors ever been remarkable for their understanding of our built or natural heritage?
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby PVC King » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:25 pm

Bewelys in Dublin
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby henno » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:44 pm

Bewelys was de-listed????

not according to page 396 of the councils current RPS list.....


im not talking about attempts, im talking about actual de-listing by county councilors.... anyone?
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby PVC King » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:57 pm

It had additional listing added which features the current use being preserved.

Joydivision disagrees with me on the long term outcome but visionary support for the integrity of the structure by virtue of it continuing in its intended use was provided by Michael Connaghan, Oisin Quinn and every other councillor on DCC.
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby henno » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:21 pm

so its the commercial use of the building thats protected and not the building fabric??.... i admit im not at all up to speed with the happenings in bewelys over the last few years... are you saying the councilors were in favour of delisting it??? did it actually happen?.....
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby PVC King » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:22 pm

Both were protected once the use was tied

No-one talked about delisting the structure and fabric but a shoe shop or Ann Summers wouldn't be the same would it?
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby Hiivaladan » Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:19 pm

Here are two examples. Sligo Council recently delisted a number of thatched structures in the county and in-of course-Kerry, we have this http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2005/05/19/story840131144.asp
It seems the complaints of owners of listed buildings that the listing of their properties is inconvenient and onerous on them is enough tp persuade friendly councillors to do the necessary. Then there was the York Street business here in Dublin.
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Re: Council plans to delist Georgian Clonmel hotel

Postby publicrealm » Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:41 pm

Hiivaladan wrote:Here are two examples. Sligo Council recently delisted a number of thatched structures in the county and in-of course-Kerry, we have this http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2005/05/19/story840131144.asp
It seems the complaints of owners of listed buildings that the listing of their properties is inconvenient and onerous on them is enough tp persuade friendly councillors to do the necessary. Than there was the York Street business here in Dublin.



Very interesting thread. My inclination is to protect and I am a supporter of An Taisce.

However I agree that some frightful rubbish is listed. I have in mind one particular ruin which is costing the owner thousands every year to secure from vandals/refurbish after vandalism. It is the ugliest piece of rubbish I have ever seen listed, is totally derilict and was added to the list in very recent times due to local demand. Its only claim to fame is a connection with an obscure minor irish writer.

It seems quite unfair to me and I have a lot of sympathy for the owner (it came with a farm purchase and was an unlisted ruin at the time).

However, as I said above, it is almost certainly better to err on the side of adding rather than deleting from the list.
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