Powerscourt Hotel and estate fight over staff accommodation
Plans for the Powerscourt Hotel and Spa in Co Wicklow to develop a new staff accommodation complex have received objections from a company linked to the Slazenger family – owners of the Powerscourt estate.
he company, Scalaheen Limited, retained planning consultant Tom Phillips + Associates to file a submission, asking that the application be denied. The filing claimed that the company behind the request, Wicklow Hotel Partnership, did not have “sufficient legal interest”.
Last month, a planning application for a 56-bed staff complex by Powerscourt Hotel, located inside the estate, was approved by Wicklow County Council. An Bord Pleanála can always be called upon.
The opposition claimed that the applicant was not the sole owner of the premises. He said law firm Arthur Cox had written to Wicklow Leisure Investments, one of the companies behind the hotel, pointing out that Scalaheen was the successor in title to Powerscourt Estates. He said Scalaheen holds “full title reversion” to the land transferred by the lease.
Lawyers said a lease signed in 2007 with Carrylane, the company that developed the hotel, required tenants to “always maintain and operate” the premises as a five-star hotel. He also stated that he could not use any part of the hotel for any other purpose, nor to make any structural or non-structural additions or changes.
He claimed the bonds were ‘breached’, alleging the current use of hotel suites for staff was against the terms of the hotel’s parental consent.
Scalaheen’s objection said the proposed accommodation was inappropriate, citing room sizes and that 56 people could share a single kitchen and common room. He described as “unusual” the ability for staff to use the grounds at Powerscourt during their downtime.
The company has acknowledged difficulties in finding accommodation for staff in Ireland. He said the proposal would not be appropriate, “given the fundamental principles of a hierarchy of needs”.
In response, the AMOSS law firm stated that the plaintiff was the sole legal owner of the hotel, in accordance with the lease.
AMOSS said the proposed development was within the permitted use, as the staff quarters constituted “ancillary facilities” and would enhance the continued operations of the premises as a five-star hotel.
The law firm added that the resort will be part of the hotel and not visible from other parts of the state.
The Powerscourt Hotel said it had ‘nothing further to add’ to the submission made by AMOSS, which it said noted that Tom Philips + Associates’ legal claims had ‘no merit’ “.
Scalaheen declined to comment.
Tom Phillips + Associates did not respond to questions.