CHAMBERS Bar on Washington Street has been refused permission to keep changes they made to the building’s windows.
During the summer, modifications were carried out to the facade facing Washington Street and Hanover Place. The work included replacing the windows and raising the sill heights allowing the windows to open and let people sit on the sills.
The building is a protected structure and Cork City Council began planning enforcement proceedings in September.
As a result, the owner, Paul Montgomery, lodged an application seeking permission to keep the alterations.
However, the application was met with strong opposition. An objector said the changes were carried out without any public consultation and described them as a flagrant disregard for conservation laws.
“This casual demolition represents a gradual destruction of our architectural heritage.”
“This shopfront was a core part of the street’s history, hand built by our ancestors and untouched for generations,” they said.
Cork City Council’s Conservation Officer Pat Ruane also opposed the changes saying they “created an unfortunate disruption of the original architectural composition and moulded sill detail of this unusual and architecturally-interesting shopfront.
“If the applicants had entered into pre-application discussions, I would have recommended against the alterations that were eventually carried out.”
Senior Planner Evelyn Mitchell agreed with the Conservation Officer saying the works were “insensitive” and noted “the loss of symmetry to the overall building.”
According to the Building Survey of Ireland, the building dates to 1875. “Significant in retaining many of its original features and decorative elements intact, as well as its original scale and form. This building contributes greatly to the overall character of the streetscape,” the appraisal states.
Cork City Council refused permission saying retaining the changes would have a negative impact on the character of the structure.
Speaking to the Evening Echo, Mr Montgomery, who also owns Reardens, said their intion with the changes was to make the building more appealing to customers.
“We made some changes to the front, we are trying to make all our buildings more appealing. People want to be outside, people want fresh air,” he said.
“There was a retention application put in, it was refused, if we have to make changes to match the planning regulations, we will.”