An Bord Pleanala has given the go ahead to the Norman Foster-designed project, which has been going through the planning process for over a year and a half. The decision is hugely significant as the redevelopment involves gutting a series of protected buildings, including the Clarence itself, leaving just the facades. Revised plans will have to be submitted to Dublin City Council as the planning board directed certain changes. The proposed penthouse level facing Essex Street at fourth floor level will have to be reduced in length by four metres on the western side and four metres on the eastern side. The board also stipulated that “prior to the demolition of the protected structures, all existing buildings and interiors shall be preserved by record” and the drawings lodged with the architectural archive.
The massive revamp was granted permission by Dublin City Council in November but that decision was appealed. An Bord Pleanala then directed that an oral hearing take place. Planning officials have given the green despite the Department of the Environment saying it did not believe the plan was of such architectural merit as to justify the demolition of six protected buildings.