05 Oct 2022

Tipperary's iconic Munster Hotel is given the green light for redevelopment

Tipperary's iconic Munster Hotel is given the green light for redevelopment

Tipperary's iconic Munster Hotel is given the green light for redevelopment

A major development project on the former Munster Hotel on Cathedral Street looks set to start after Tipperary County Council granted planning permission to site owner Martin Healy this week.

The site, a familiar landmark in the town, has been run down for a number of years, with Mr Healy first applying for permission to develop it seven years ago.
The council this Monday granted planning for change of use of part ground floor from hotel use to retail use incorporating a single storey extension to rear and part of existing basement for storage including all ancillary accesses from basement to ground floor, minor front and rear elevation changes and extension and alteration to existing carpark into garden area to rear of former hotel which includes public lighting, bin store, trolley bays and all ancillary work and permission for new signage to front and rear elevations with all associated siteworks and ancillary works.

A delighted Mr Healy told the Tipperary Star that it had been a “long road”.

He already has two anchor tenants in mind for the site, but is also looking at providing student accommodation as the two-acre site backs on to the Mary Immaculate College campus.

“They are a very progressive college,” he said.

Mr Healy said that the planning permission now allowed him to enter discussions with potential strategic partners to carry out development on this prime Thurles town centre site .

He reassured people using the car park onsite that it was hoped that this arrangement can be facilitated in any new development.
“The car park will still be there,” he said.

Mr Healy thanked the council officials, local councillors and TDs and his design team headed by Sean Ryan Architectural Solutions for their input advice and valuable consultations to bring this planning application process to a positive final outcome.

“Everyone wanted to see it happen,” he said.

“The process of engaging with potential development partners can now commence and the site redevelopment can be progressed ,” he said.

Mr Healy revealed that €6.5m will now be spent on bringing the site up to planning standards, but cautioned that people need not expect diggers onsite in the coming days or weeks as there is a four-week window in which people can appeal the council’s decision to An Bórd Pleanála. However, he was confident that he had met any potential objections while going through the planning process.

An upbeat Mr Healy described Thurles as a “good town” that was “strategically placed” to benefit from its rail links and its proximity to the M8.

“I have confidence in the town. You have to have faith in your own town and I have invested heavily in Thurles,” he said.
Mr Healy praised the work that other business owners were doing around the town.

“They are enhancing their own properties. The business owners will make it happen,” he said.

He was also confident that the town will get its bypass.

“I believe it will happen,” he said.

The news was welcomed by local TD Jackie Cahill, who said the granting of planning permission would now clear up a “cancerous eyesore” in that part of Thurles.

“I am delighted it has been approved. It will take what was a sore thumb off the landscape,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil TD also commented that other business owners were upgrading their properties.

“It’s great to see derelict buildings being brought back into use. During a housing crisis it riles people to see a derelict building,” he said.

Deputy Cahill said that while initially there may be some traffic issues in Cathedral Street when work started, he was confident that the proposed link road would be built and would have the same effect as the Jimmy Doyle Road at the other end of town.

“It is in the development plan and the process to acquire the land is ongoing,” he said.

He also pointed to the part third level education was having in Thurles, saying there were up to 1,300 students in the town and that number was constantly growing.

The town could look forward with optimism between the opening of the new UPMC sports clinic and the impending arrival of up to 300 students under plans to being a Home Economics course to Thurles.

Deputy Michael Lowry hailed the news as “another great boost for the town”.

“Development at this iconic site will further enhance the ongoing improvement works in Liberty Square and complement the town’s Market Square area,” he said.

The Independent TD said that he had been “sad” to see the Munster Hotel lying idle and in darkness.

“It’s a building that is not only steeped in rich history, but it also holds many memories for local people and people from across the county,” he said.

Deputy Lowry pointed out that the decision to grant planning permission had been delayed as the council had required additional time to examine further information supplied by Mr However, the path had now been cleared and works can proceed.

“I understand that the property’s ground floor will be used for retail purposes, including a supermarket and a retail outlet, which will be welcomed by local people. This will further cement the future of Thurles town centre as a thriving shopping area,” said Deputy Lowry.

John Butler of Thurles Chamber of Commerce described the decision as “good”, if it means the Munster Hotel can be brought into proper commercial use again.

“It’s a complete eyesore at the moment,” said Mr Butler.

He hoped that a “big retailer” anchor tenant could be found for it, and not necessarily a supermarket.

“A big retailer could help keep the footfall in the town centre and help other business to benefit from it,” he said.

Fine Gael’s Cllr Peggy Ryan, welcoming the decision, pointed out that Thurles had in recent years undergone progressive changes and this could be seen with the work on Liberty Square.

“I am glad to see a vacant building get a new life,” she said, wishing everyone involved “great success”.

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