By Conor Brummell
An Bord Pleanála has upheld a decision to grant permission to Sult to build a canopy at the back of the college bar area, despite complaints that were lodged earlier this year.
SIN revealed in September that plans to build the structure were appealed by the Corrib Rowing and Yacht Club. According to sources, the club felt that some of their “elderly members would feel intimidated by the drinkers who use the bar” and the fact that the canopy would “impede their right of access at the back of Sult bar”.
However, these complaints were not upheld, and the green light has been given to build the structure. An Bord Pleanála’s ruling came on the basis that the development of the canopy “would not seriously injure the visual amenities of the protected structure, the adjoining canal or any property in the vicinity”.
They also alluded to the fact that the right of access would not be restricted, seeing as there have been sturdy planters in place since 2013 to distinguish between the bar area and the access to the canal. Any further objection on this basis, the report claims, would be a civil matter and An Bord Pleanála would not be able to judicate any further.
The development of the structure has been given revised conditions to adhere by, ensuring that the City Development Plan is followed. As the canal is a protected structure, the proposed canopy “must be supported on three stand–alone–columns” in order to stick to the conservation report. A conservation expert must also be present at time of building to monitor the site.
Gareth Williams, CEO of Students’ Union Commercial Services Ltd, spoke to SIN about the project moving forward. “We’re delighted now, obviously, about moving forward and the fact that everything is done and dusted”.
“We had very little involvement in the whole thing, since the objection to the planning permission was sent to An Bord Pleanála. Our plans were already approved, and they (The Yacht and Rowing Club) were appealing somebody else’s decision. I think the grounds in which they appealed on were, to put it politely, tenuous or just not correct”.
“We are looking forward now to getting moving, and the University is completely on board. We’re waiting for architectural suppliers and tendering to get sorted, but we’re not going to rush into anything just yet while people are around during term-time. We’re going to wait until we get a holiday period, and then we’ll finalise the date”.
Corrib Rowing and Yacht Club were contacted at the time of the article being written but did not provide comment on the matter.
According to the appeal report from An Bord Pleanála, however, the club wished that “the Applicant (Sult Bar) had notified the club of their intention to develop a site”.
The report also states that the club would be happy with the Planning Authority’s suggestion of a “semi-permanent low barrier to be placed beside the Canal” in the event of anyone falling in due to heightened popularity of the student bar.
According to Gareth Williams, he “would love if the structure could be built on Monday. However, there is one company doing the building, with architects and quantity surveyors still to come on board.”
“We are, however, looking forward to it coming to fruition”, he concluded.