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Howth residents raise concerns over Conor McGregor’s plans to develop boutique hotel

Locals send objections to Fingal County Council over MMA fighter’s plans for Waterside bar on Harbour Road

Residents of Howth, Co Dublin have lodged objections to redevelopment plans at the former Waterside bar owned by mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor.

Developers propose demolishing the existing four- and two-storey building on Harbour Road and replacing it with a five- and four-storey “boutique hotel” complete with a “residents’ terrace area” on the roof. The plans would see a pub retained on the ground floor.

Monica Lambert, a resident of Dunbo Hill, Howth, which is to the rear of the premises, has objected to the planned inclusion of an “unprecedented” open-roof terrace in the new development.

The space would “without doubt be used as a beer and party garden reminiscent of Ibiza parties”, she said in her submissions to Fingal County Council. This, she said, would be “wholly out of character” for such a quiet, residential area.

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“If permitted the proposed roof area would be open to bar patrons, parties, reservation parties and events, booming music, and a whole variety of loud activities out of character and without consideration of location and neighbours,” Ms Lambert said.

She said the application was “maximalist” and does not give any consideration to the adverse impacts the development might have on the community and the environment.

Noel Loftus, who lives next door to the Waterside, claimed existing private balcony space at his adjoining property would be “entirely overlooked and overshadowed by the proposed terrace balcony”.

Nigel and Gail Clarke, who live on Church Street, to the rear of the Waterside, said the proposed roof terrace would infringe on their privacy, given that it would overlook “balconies and private spaces” at their residence. The terrace would, if given the go-ahead, essentially operate as a public space, create a precedent for this kind of amenity in Howth and result in noise and disruption, they told the local authority.

Monica Creenane, who said she has lived at her Dunbo Hill home for 54 years, wrote to the council objecting to the development, stating that she had concerns about the “potential intrusion” that the roof terrace might have on her privacy and security. She also said it was important to consider the “historical significance” of Howth.

Patrick and Louise Rickard, of Dunbo Hill, submitted to the council that the proposed development would be “out of scale” with the 19th-century streetscape, while long-time Howth resident Siobhan Clifford said it was “essential” that Howth’s architectural conservation area was respected to prevent further “attrition”.

Another key concern raised by many residents was a perceived obstruction to views that the proposed development would cause. The Rickards claimed the roof area would obscure views from Howth Terrace – which lies to the rear of the proposed development – towards the harbour.

“The charm of this area of Howth is in the interesting and quaint streetscapes with unexpected views of the harbour and northwards to Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Island. It is one of the first areas visitors and tourists visit in Howth, after the harbour. If tourism is to be encouraged in Howth, this area should be protected,” they wrote.

Ms Creenane also wrote in her objection that the development would impact views of the harbour from Dunbo Hill. “It is imperative to consider the historical significance of Howth,” she added.

Concerns were also raised about traffic congestion and parking congestion as potential knock-ons from the proposed development.

Permission for the development at the Waterside is being sought by G Boppers Limited. The Business Post reported in March that Alan Geraghty, listed as a director of G Boppers Limited, bought the Waterside on behalf of McGregor in 2022.

The plan for the Waterside is far from the first planning controversy in Howth.

Local residents in recent years sought to halt the construction of apartments on the site of the Bailey Court Hotel by challenging An Bord Pleanála’s permission for the development in the High Court. Permission was eventually granted to Marlet Property Group for the 180 residential units in March of last year.

Following local objections, the construction of 162 apartments at Howth’s Deer Park was halted last year when the High Court quashed An Bord Pleanála’s grant of permission to GLL PRS Holdco for the development. Permission had initially been given by the board in 2021 despite a recommendation from Fingal County Council to refuse it.

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