Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Yes
66
29%
No
163
71%
 
Total votes : 229

Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby notjim » Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:12 pm

CC105 wrote:How about the existing buildings just being ugly, along with a large section of the quays in the immediate area.


I think it is a mistake to base planning descision on negative aesthetic judgements like this; fashions change and it is so easy to see no merit in a good building, so much harder to see what is good about a building, I always feel that if opinion is mixed, the positive judgement is usually more worthwhile, more thoughtful. What we can say is that these are fine buildings, care was put into designing them and into building them, there are reasons to be impressed by them and by their relationships with the surrounding streetscape, it is likely that these attributes will be valued in time, even if you find them ugly now. Personally, I think the hotel is a great buildings, with an Edwardian feel rare in the city center.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby paddyb » Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:26 pm

This plan is a catastrophe. I cannot fathom how seven members of ABP could take this grossly overscaled Disneyland facadism and hold it up as 'exceptional design'.

Whatever about the bombastic flying saucer roof, it's the double-height glazed box that lurches out of the facades of the small houses on Wellington Quay that kills me. It looks like someone has just plonked a curtain-walled office block directly on top of these cowering buildings. There's barely even a set-back. And then there's the huge strip of blank two-storey gable wall saying fuck you to O'Connell Bridge and the rest of the city, wrecking one of the city's few classic vistas. Plus the baffling consensus that the Essex Street facades are blank and worthless. I just don't get it.

It's groups of small-scale buildings like those around the Clarence that give Dublin its distinctive character. It's inconceivable that a development like this would be pemitted along the canals in Amsterdam or on the terraces along the Seine. As usual, planning in Dublin appears to be around fifteen years behind the rest of Europe. It's like someone in An Bord Pleanala has just been to Bilbao on a mini-break and decided Dublin needs some 'iconic architecture', and everyone else was too weary to object. Meanwhile the actual fabric of the city rots - Thomas Street, James's Street, the Northside Georgian core. This is the intimate urban streetscape that distinguishes Dublin from the sub-Birmingham naffness it increasingly appears to aspire to.

There must be some ingenious architect out there who could design Bono a 140-bedroom hotel on this site without butchering the quays..?
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby notjim » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:44 pm

paddyb wrote: This is the intimate urban streetscape that distinguishes Dublin from the sub-Birmingham naffness it increasingly appears to aspire to.


Can I be the first to congratulate you on this excellent sentence!
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby gunter » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:52 pm

paddyb wrote:This plan is a catastrophe. I cannot fathom how seven members of ABP could take this grossly overscaled Disneyland facadism and hold it up as 'exceptional design'.


I don't know how the inner processes work in APB, but the selection of the inspector would appear to be a critical decision. While I wouldn't dissagree with too much that was in the inspector's report on the Clarence, there are a couple of things that stand out:

1. That 'Conceptually brilliant, but contextually illiterate' phrase, and

2. The name of the inspector.

If a particular inspector was possibly prone to grandstanding and had a back catelogue that included a withering evaluation of another large scale redevelopment proposal for a contextually challenging site in Dublin, that had been abruptly and properly overturned by the Board, would that be the inspector you would pick to take this particular file?

I think that 'Conceptually brilliant' phrase is undeserved, I suspect it was introduced to give maximum effect to the 'contextually illiterate' part of the couplet, which is deserved. To me, this is the Achille's heel in the whole report, it gave the Board the soundbite they needed to to justify their Grant of Permission. Who wouldn't want a building that even it's most vocal denouncer conceded was 'Conceptually brilliant'?
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby ctesiphon » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:30 pm

IGS letter in today's IT. Hmmm...

Clarence Hotel development

Madam, - The Irish Georgian Society: Ireland's Architectural Heritage Society is extremely concerned at the decision reached by the members of the board of An Bord Pleanála on July 16th, 2008, to grant permission for the Norman Foster-designed redevelopment and extension to the Clarence Hotel, Wellington Quay, Dublin.

The Irish Georgian Society is confounded as to why the board said Yes to this scheme when their own senior planning inspector advised against doing so, citing the negative impact on the built heritage as the principal reason.

In addition to An Board Pleanála's own planning inspector advising against the scheme, Ireland's conservation community was unanimous in its rejection of the scheme, with the Irish Georgian Society; An Taisce; Dublin City Council's conservation department; and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government's architectural heritage protection policy unit all advocating a No decision.

Furthermore, the decision reached by An Board Pleanála to grant permission for the scheme is contrary to the measures set out to protect the built heritage in Dublin City Council's development plan (Dublin City Development Plan, 2005-2011, Part X, Heritage and Appendix 18, Protected Structures and Buildings in Conservation Areas), Ireland's national conservation legislation (Planning Development Act, 2000, Part IV, Architectural Heritage) and national conservation policy (Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government's Architectural Heritage Protection: Guidelines for Local Authorities), as well as international conservation charters (International Charter for the Conservation Restoration of Monuments and Sites, Venice, 1964) and conventions (Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, Granada 1985).

The society is strongly opposed to the decision to grant permission for this scheme and fully concurs with An Bord Pleanála's inspector's evaluation that the "design of the proposed development is conceptually brilliant but contextually illiterate".

This is due to the proposal's form, scale and massing being at variance with already established urban form of Wellington Quay, an urban form characterised by small-scale narrow-fronted terraced Georgian houses.

A form deemed to have significant heritage value, as borne out by the quays being designated an Architectural Conservation Area.

In addition to the negative impact the granted scheme will have on the "quayscape" and city's skyline, the granting of permission represents a serious conservation setback in Ireland as to what is deemed acceptable treatment for a protected structure.

The concept of a protected structure, as introduced into Irish law through the Planning and Development Act, 2000, was a far-seeing and progressive one, where the protected structure comprised the building itself, the interior, the curtilage of the building and where relevant, the attendant lands.

In particular, the protection of the interior was a long overdue but hugely welcomed development and was intended to inhibit facadism.

Facadism, long discredited by the international conservation community and totally at odds with ICOMOS's conservation charters, entails the retention of the facade and the demolition of the building behind.

The Clarence Hotel, Dollard House and number 9-12 Wellington Quay, which formed part of the planning application, are all protected structures and as such their interiors were also protected.

An Bord Pleanála's ruling to grant permission for the demolition of the interiors of all these protected structures has paved the way for wholesale facadism along this stretch of Dublin's quays.

Most worrying is the precedent that has now been set. It will be increasingly difficult for Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála to refuse permission for future insensitive planning applications which threaten to degrade the protected structures and architectural conservation areas located within Dublin's historic core.

The last point the society wishes to stress is that we are not in any way opposed to good quality modern buildings.

The society is conscious that the well-designed buildings of today will become the built heritage of tomorrow. However, the "built heritage of tomorrow" should not be erected if it means that Dublin's celebrated historic buildings and streetscapes are to be mutilated and degraded, as is the case with the Clarence development.

The society agrees that to have an architect, such as Norman Foster, who is held in such esteem by the international architectural community, design a building for Dublin should be exciting.

However the society emphatically considers that Dublin is being given a second-rate building by a first-rate architect and that it is a sad day when an architect of Norman Foster's calibre is reduced to facadism. - Yours, etc,

EMMELINE HENDERSON,
Conservation Research Manager,
Irish Georgian Society,
74 Merrion Square,
Dublin 2.

© 2008 The Irish Times


Also, gunter- I've been giving your last post some thought. I'll be back.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby CC105 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:04 pm

Hardly news -a conservation body writting that they do not approve of this development. After the editorial in the Times the other day I suspect that lots more of these conservative views will make it to print. Not hard to see how FMc D gets to write the stuff he does.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby ctesiphon » Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:48 pm

The letter (note 'letter', not 'news') was posted here for information, particularly for those who may not have seen the IT today. You might not be aware of it, but this debate has travelled beyond these shores. I don't know if those elsewhere read this forum, but if they do I'm pretty sure they'd appreciate the up-to-date information.

You don't? To be honest, that doesn't bother me in the slightest.

The rest of your post - equating 'conservation' with 'conservative', the illogical statement about Frank McDonald - is up to your usual high standard. :rolleyes:
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby CC105 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:33 pm

best get back to school then!!!as for standard of postings, get over yourself:o
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby Smithfield Resi » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:42 pm

Image

Dawn's place?
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby SunnyDub » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:47 pm

Gee wiz, it's not news that a conservation body opposes...blah blah...we know...that's not the point. This time it's much more significant and that's why they've been quoted about taking legal action, I think. Get over yourself CC!
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby SeamusOG » Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:27 pm

I wonder if there's anyone here who could clarify something for me about the above letter.

The Irish Georgian Society wrote:The society is strongly opposed to the decision to grant permission for this scheme and fully concurs with An Bord Pleanála's inspector's evaluation that the "design of the proposed development is conceptually brilliant but contextually illiterate".


However the society emphatically considers that Dublin is being given a second-rate building by a first-rate architect and that it is a sad day when an architect of Norman Foster's calibre is reduced to facadism. - Yours, etc,


Can it be both "conceptually brilliant" and "second-rate" at the same time?
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:05 pm

The first quote is the inspector
the second is the IGS opinion
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby SeamusOG » Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:34 pm

Yes, but the IGS "fully concurs" with the inspector's evaluation, which includes the view that the building is "conceptually brilliant".
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby johnglas » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:55 pm

Seamus O'G is right, I'm afraid; the inspector sold the pass to the Philistines - 'conceptually arrogant' would have hit the mark better.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby GrahamH » Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:27 pm

I'd taken it that 'conceptually brilliant' referrred to the 'skycatcher' concept of funnelling light down through the building, coupled with the project's overall environmental credentials - not its aesthetics. 'Conceptually brilliant' hardly refers to thickly spreading top-up additions across a terrace of historic structures like a layer of architectural Polyfilla.
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Re: A new Clarence Hotel re-development with destruction on Essex St., Temple Bar

Postby Desmund » Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:58 am

ctesiphon wrote:Lies! All lies!!

You're only trying to stir up a bit of controversy by pretending that there's someone in this city who actually likes this proposal.:D

Joking aside, is there anyone out there who does like it and can give a good, reasoned argument for such an opinion?


Yes. Ilike it a lot. I'm delighted and somewhat surprised (pleasently) that it got the go ahead. It's brilliantly imposing and livens up the otherwise boring and drab quay area. I especially like airy top of the building. The rest of it has a gothic type feel to it. The fact that they had to knock down a couple of Georgian buildings either side of it is a good thing. If I had my way aside from a few notable exceptions I'd level the quays and put something more inspiring in its place. Just because something is old doesn't mean that it has any architectural merit. This train of thought that states leave the quays as they are simply because they're Georgian is a a ridiculous and flawed argument for tolerating mediocrity. Did the Georgians lose any sleep at night while they laid waste to vast areas of the medievil city to make way for the wonderfully designed wide streets? Hardly! Times and architectural styles evole. It happens. Be respectful of past glories but not imprisioned by them.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby jimg » Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:10 am

Be respectful of past glories but not imprisioned by them.

Jeezus h christ. What a bunch of absolute horsesh*t rounded off with a seemingly reasonable question. Here's a question for you: how the f*ck would leveling the quays be respectful of the past?

Have you actually been to any cities where where their historic buildings and streetscapes have been erased in the recent past whether by accident or design? You don't have to go far. Ryanair do cheap flights to the English midlands or try any of the south Wales urban centres.

It's depressing trying to maintain some ambition for Dublin and sustain hope tthat it compete with and develop along the lines of similarly sized admired European capitals and yet come across so many people whose lowly aspirations would have Dublin turned into something like Coventry. It's the same ignorance which provided the justification for the gutting of Dublin in order to bring dual carraigeways into the centre of the city.

And yes, it is IGNORANCE and not simply a matter of opinion. It demonstrates a lack of objectivity and experience of other cities. The "out with the old" attitute to urban development can never be justified based on the experience of other cities. There are never any cities named which demonstrate that this approach has improved a city (I challenge you to name a single similarly-sized European city which is generally admired having destroyed it's own historic heart) , there are countless examples of cities which are generally viewed as having being destroyed by this approach and furthermore there are endless counterexamples of cities where the preservation of their historic stock has made them into some of the most widely admired and vibrant cities in the world.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby johnglas » Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:39 pm

The outsider intervenes again, but are you in Dublin not rapidly approaching a Wood Quay or a Hume St moment? The Clarence and Stephens Green proposals are such monumental (sic) affronts to the integrity of the city that somebody should do something; in today's media-hyped world with its penchant for the tabloidesque think of the negative publicity. 'Over-hyped (and over-there) fading popgroup and megalomaniac starchitect conspire to ravish defenceless old dame on the quays' (or something like that). You can no doubt invent a better scenario for the green yourselves.
Instead of the relentless quest for the 'iconic' and the mega, DCC should concentrate on 'improving' and consolidating the city within the canals. There are plenty of continental examples of good practice, just get on with it. It does not mean you build nothing new, even less that you give up on 'contemporary' architecture, since there are plently of vacant spaces and genuinely dilapidated buildings to focus on. Why not try Newmarket or Thomas St as exemplars and get a genuine debate going about best practice? ABP gives every indication of having been bought or at least contaminated, so the last line of defence has now gone.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby lostexpectation » Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:48 pm

CC105 wrote:How about the existing buildings just being ugly, along with a large section of the quays in the immediate area.


allowing as you clearly should for the buildings to get a good clean what's ugly about them comapred to their contempaories?
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby gunter » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:41 am

Desmund wrote: Did the Georgians lose any sleep at night while they laid waste to vast areas of the medievil city to make way for the wonderfully designed wide streets? Hardly!


You've got a point there Desmund, but the 'Georgians' were pursuing a comprehensive vision of a classical city, I don't see much evidence of a comprehensive vision today and whatever vision the Clarence proposal entails, it is seriously compromised by the facadism that they've adopted to deal with the 'Protected Structure' status of the existing buildings.

johnglas wrote:are you in Dublin not rapidly approaching a Wood Quay or a Hume St moment?


I think there are some parallels with both Wood Quay and Hume Street here, but perhaps the planning controversy with the most similarities is the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art saga of almost exactly a hundred years ago.

Image
Image

On that occassion, a prominant Irishman on the fringes of the global artistic world engaged the services of a star architect from England to make a big statement on the Liffey Quays. I presume that Hugh Lane engaged Edwin Lutyens for the same reasons that the U2 boys engaged Norman Foster, he had the biggest reputation going and they had access to him.

Although it had none of the crass commercial overtones of the proposed Clarence make-over, the proposed Hugh Lane Gallery was certainly 'conceptually brilliant' and would have have classical elegance by the bucket full. As far as I understand it, the proposed new gallery was undone by little more than a negative public reaction which expressed itself unimpressed by the concept of a building intruding into the Liffey vistas.

Another factor in the negative public reaction was the fact that the new, conceptually brilliant, gallery would have replacing the ha'penny bridge (less than a hundred years old at that stage) and this modest struture had, by then, become a much admired feature of the quay-scape.

But that was all in more primitive times, before we had the concept of 'Protected Structures' and before we had the benefit of a belt & braces planning system to ensure that 'protected Structures' remained protected.
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Re: A new Clarence Hotel re-development with destruction on Essex St., Temple Bar

Postby notjim » Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:16 am

Desmund wrote:Did the Georgians lose any sleep at night while they laid waste to vast areas of the medievil city to make way for the wonderfully designed wide streets? Hardly!.


I certainly regret how much of the medieval city was lost to the WSC, in Edinburgh, for example, the Georgian town extended the city rather without destroying so much of it. On another thread the lost of TCD's early buildings was regretted. Either way, the fact the Georgians destroyed part of the medieval town doesn't really constitute an argument for demolishing Georgian buildings.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby SunnyDub » Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:47 pm

Inspector on “exceptional circumstances”:


[align=left]I note that there is no definition of “exceptional circumstances” under the Planning and

Development Act 2000. Thus, it appears reasonable to conclude that it was not intended by

the Act to seek to define the extent of what could constitute an exception in relation to

allowing demolition of a protected structure. Clearly, the exception is to be determined by the

planning authority or by the Board on appeal, with due regard in such a determination being

couched in a responsibility to consider the ‘proper planning and sustainable development of

the area’. The Board would also be entitled to consider the common good and, indeed, this

has been noted by the parties to the appeal.



The Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines, as with the Act, do not define “exceptional

circumstances”. They do, however, offer or suggest examples of where demolition may be

considered. The applicant correctly submits, in my opinion, that the Guidelines are not to be

regarded as a legal interpretation of the relevant statutory provisions and it is not their

purpose. The applicant also submits that the range of examples given are not exhaustive and

that the Guidelines suggest that it is appropriate to give consideration and to identify those

aspects of a protected structure which contribute to the ‘special interest’ of the whole,

referring to the applicant’s position that one of the principal justifications for the designation

of the Clarence Hotel as a protected structure is its historic and established use as a hotel.

“Exceptional”, in my own understanding of the word, infers that something is out of the ordinary. Thus, “exceptional circumstances” in relation to demolition of protected structures would be circumstances that one considers would not be ordinary or common. In this

instance, the circumstances should be much more than a general planning argument or merit

of this proposal that would allow for the demolition of the protected structures. The dilemma

that I see for the applicant is that none of the circumstances put forward are in themselves

exceptional. Nor do they, as a group, add up to be exceptional. How many times has the

Board faced the opinion of applicants that set out the merits of a proposal in the same way as

this proposal? I would estimate that the Board faces these types of arguments promoting

development schemes on a frequent basis.



The circumstances provided are not unique or out of the ordinary. They do not set themselves apart evidently when one is considering the context of architectural heritage, and, importantly, it is the context of architectural heritage within the legislation where the term “exceptional circumstances” is placed. I am of the opinion that they are commonly placed arguments. Many applicants laud their design, espouse the development of an iconic structure, promote the regeneration impact of a proposal, acknowledge the retention of a use, emphasise their contribution to the economy, etc. Significantly, there is nothing unique about the circumstances in this case that leads one to conclude that the protected structures on this site merit demolition.



To this extent, it is very notable that the applicant’s list of exceptional circumstances does not refer to the condition of the protected structures. The applicant has made an attempt to limit the extent of what is protected. However, the structures (the protected nature of which clearly extends beyond that ascertained by the applicant) are not condemned due to any poor structural condition. There is nothing in the form of a physical debilitation relating to the buildings on the site that merit their demolition. Not alone is there no ‘exceptional circumstance’ provided but the totality of circumstances does not appear to combine to create any ‘exception’ to allow for demolition.

The legislation, as it relates to protected structures, has significantly strengthened with the adoption of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 1999 and the Planning and Development Act 2000. The intent is clearly to put in place measures which acknowledge the importance of these structures, to put in place a system of protection, and, having established a comprehensive system of protection, to allow for loss of these protected structures by way of demolition only as a last resort. Indeed, when I questioned Dr. O’Dwyer

of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government at the oral hearing he

accepted that demolition of a protected structure is a last resort, as for example where a

structure has been seriously damaged by fire. While the Act does not provide any definition

of exceptional circumstances and the Guidelines do not provide an exhaustive list of such

circumstances, I consider that there is significant understanding to merit a conclusion that the

applicant’s position on exceptional circumstances does not meet with the intent of the Act or

the Guidelines.
[/align]

(Inspector’s Report, Assessment, Section 13.1, pages 46 – 47)
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby SunnyDub » Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:25 pm

Can someone explain to me why An Taisce or the Irish Georgian Society haven't taken a judicial review against the Board's decision? Are they hard up, if they won't defend conservation, who will? The failure to challenge this decision sets a terrible precedent in my view.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby publicrealm » Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:47 pm

SunnyDub wrote:Can someone explain to me why An Taisce or the Irish Georgian Society haven't taken a judicial review against the Board's decision? Are they hard up, if they won't defend conservation, who will? The failure to challenge this decision sets a terrible precedent in my view.


Well.........

Firstly, you are looking at challenging a decision by an expert body, on what is essentially an undefined and subjective matter. Not a great start. Generally the Courts will not go behind the reasoning of an expert body unless it can be shown to be wholly irrational;

Secondly there is the small matter of circa 1 million euro, which you would need to gamble. This assumes a worst case scenario where you lose your case (assuming you get leave in the first place) and pay your own plus the other sides costs (ABP would certainly pursue costs) and also get hit by the Applicant for the cost of the 'unnecessary' delay (in a deteriorating market).

Hardly a job for any voluntary, cash starved organisation?

We need a planning inspectorate, loosely modelled on the Spanish Inquisition, but with additional powers, which would call in decisions as it saw fit. S'not going to happen though.
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Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?

Postby johnny21 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:28 pm

A image of the 'world class pool'!!!!!:cool:
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