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November 4, 2008

Roche rejected advice on Clarence Hotel proposals from department

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Former Minister for the Environment Dick Roche rejected a strong recommendation from his department’s heritage officers that it should object to plans for the redevelopment of Dublin’s Clarence Hotel. Documents released to The Irish Times show that Mr Roche decided that the department should not recommend a refusal by Dublin City Council, on the basis that the scheme by Foster + Partners would “represent a significant addition” to the city’s architecture. In a handwritten note, he said: “As a layman, the architectural proposals seem to me to have great merit” – even though they would involve demolishing all but the Wellington Quay facades of the hotel and adjoining buildings, all of which are protected structures. A new eight-storey hotel containing 140 bedrooms – topped by an elliptical flying saucer-style roof – would rise up behind the retained façades. Only some elements of the interior would be salvaged, principally the Clarence’s oak-panelled Octagon Bar. Mr Roche dismissed the recommendation that an objection should be made on the basis that the proposed development would adversely affect historic buildings and views along the Liffey Quays, writing: “Surely what the dept is suggesting is a formula for stasis.”

The Irish Times

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