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Planning Permission For Howth Castle Gets Green Light

Irish property investor Tetrarch Capital and the Michael J Wright hospitality group have received planning permission from Fingal County Council for their planned redevelopment of Howth Castle in north Dublin, subject to 35 conditions being met.

The pair teamed up more than a year ago to lodge a planning application for a €10 million redevelopment of Howth Castle to transform it into a retail, food and tourist destination.

Tetrarch and the Wright Group had sought permission for a new 150-seat restaurant to be built in a glass-covered pavilion within the castle’s stable yard. The site was to include a revamped cookery school, a gin-making school, and a range of retail stores.

The developers also proposed to include picnic and play areas, a falconry and petting farm, and a garden centre. The National Transport Museum would remain on the site while a 150-seater marquee would be located to the south of the castle for weddings and other events.

A new entrance to the grounds was to be constructed, along with an access road to a proposed car and coach parking area and an overflow car park.

In a decision published yesterday, the council has given the green light for the ambitious scheme, which will involve a change in parts of the castle from residential to commercial use.

However, the council has attached a number of conditions relating to internal roads and car parking at the site. It has ruled that a proposed road to the east of the castle be omitted from the scheme.

The local authority has also decided that the number of parking spaces shall not exceed 151 and that a proposed overflow car park be omitted from the project. In addition, the developers are required to provide electric charging units at 10 per cent of the parking spaces.

They have also been asked to provide clarification of the ownership of a section of road leading to the main entrance, and have been asked to demonstrate the requirement of the road to serve the development.

In addition, the conditions require that the marquee be relocated to the east of the site to provide a separation from the existing group of mature trees, with the design to be revised to be “more sympathetic to the setting”.

Contribution of €164,784

The developers are also required to conduct a bat survey, and to submit a retail impact assessment to consider the impact on existing retail operators “on the Howth Peninsula such as Sutton, Howth Village and the Howth Harbour Area”.

The developers will be required to pay a contribution of €164,784.46 to the council, while a separate charge by Irish Water is to be levied.

Responding to the granting of permission, Mr Wright said: “The team at Michael J Wright Hospitality are pleased with the decision to grant planning permission. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Howth Castle and expect it to become a key wedding and tourism destination. Our group has enjoyed the support of locals in Howth for years and we also look forward to seeing them in the Gráinne Mhaol room for afternoon tea.”

The Wright group is set to take a 25-year lease on the property, with 150 jobs expected to be created on the site. Based in Swords, the group’s founder is Howth native Michael Wright and its venues include the Angler’s Rest near the Phoenix Park and Wrights Findlater Howth.

Tetrarch acquired Howth Castle and 472 acres of surrounding land together with Ireland’s Eye from the Gaisford-St Lawrence family in 2019, for an undisclosed sum.

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