It was the eagle-eyed Dec Shaw who first spotted the devil in the detail…
Reading through the latest planning application for The La Touche Hotel, there it was, in black and white.
Yet again, a new developer was riding into town with dreams of reducing this once-beautiful 123-year-old Greystones landmark to rubble.
Second paragraph, second line, after developers Crimson Lane Ltd explain that their proposed development of the La Touche Hotel site will consist of amendments to the mixed used residential development permitted, the application states that this will involve ‘the removal of the 4-storey former main La Touche hotel building in its entirety‘.
It’s a move that has been fought at every step of the way, the final compromise with the last approved planning application – for 26 houses, including five within the shell of the hotel – being that the four outside walls of The La Touche would remain.
For Dec Shaw, the need to save this landmark is obvious. “The La Touche is the jewel in the crown of Victorian Greystones,” he says. “I do not want to see it go the way of The Woodlands Hotel, Killincarrig Manor, etc, etc. It is all we have left.”
For local councillor Jennifer Whitmore, progress at this long neglected site would be welcomed, but, “it is important that we protect our heritage buildings in the process. These buildings add character and tell the story of an era.
“If we don’t protect them, we could, bit by bit, end up with a sterile and characterless town.”
You can read the full planning application on the Wicklow County Council’s sitehere. More importantly, for €20, you can object to these new plans. The deadline is December 7th, and the procedure for objecting is explained righthere. You’ll need to include the planning register reference number, which is 171323. You can also ring WCC’s planning department on040420100.
In the meantime, we caught up with Matt Wilson outside The La Touche Hotel this afternoon, to discuss just how important maintaining this historic local building is…
You can donate to the campaign to Save The La Touche right here. Then, go check out the old girl in her prime right about here.
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