Waterford City Council’s refusal of permission for a hotel, residential and commercial complex on the former Brooks site overlooking the River Suir has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Northern Ireland-based McAleer and Rushe Group were had applied for a mixed-use development on the 1.87-acre Newtown Road site (opposite the People’s Park) comprising of 72 apartments, a hotel, commercial/retail units and associated works.

Lodged in December 2008, the proposal involves the demolition of existing industrial sheds and the construction of two blocks: one comprising the apartments and 30,000sq-ft of retail/office space and underground car parking (varying in height from four to nine storeys); and the other (over 3-8 storeys) consisting of a 150-bed hotel and under/above-ground car parking, along with a new entranceway, raised walkways and landscaping.

With Brooks relocating to the Six Cross Roads Business Park, the sale of the site – the rear of which straddles the River Suir – was put on the market with a price tag of around €7million.

While the lands are zoned ‘opportunity’ under the Waterford City Development Plan, council planners deemed the scale of the proposal to be at odds with its environs, and expressed serious concerns about overlooking and overshadowing.

Also, the development’s bulk, height and location “would be overly dominant and intrusive, resulting in an unacceptably adverse impact on the character and appearance of a number of protected structures in the vicinity, and would potentially have an adverse impact on the designated architectural conservation areas of the south quays.”

Furthermore, the proposal’s size and layout “would compromise the future development potential of the remaining lands within the opportunity site” and thus “depreciate the value of property in the vicinity.”

The case is due to be decided by the appeals board by March 9th.