Savoy Cinema owners object to Apollo House, Screen Cinema plans

New plans by Marlet include 500-seat venue along with increase in height at the Dublin city centre development

The owners of the Savoy Cinema in Dublin have put the brakes on the Marlet Group amending its ambitious plans for the Apollo House, College House and Screen Cinema site near Dublin's Pearse Street.

Dublin Cinema Group Ltd has lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanála against Dublin City Council's decision to grant planning permission to Patrick Crean's Marlet Group subsidiary, Atlas GP Ltd, for amendments to its overall proposal which includes plans for a 500-seat entertainment venue.

The new application also includes a partial increase in heights of the permitted Apollo House and College House redevelopments.

The Dublin Cinema Group is holding up the application over fears of the impact the Marlet Group’s planned entertainment venue could have on the Savoy cinema. It cites a deal the two sides entered into concerning the new venue.


The Dublin Cinema Group sold the Screen Cinema property to Mr Crean’s Balark Investments in 2016 to facilitate the College House and Screen Cinema planning application.

In a letter to the council, the director of the Dublin Cinema Group, Paul Ward said that on completion of the sale, Balark Investments entered into a deed of covenant with the Dublin Cinema Group that it wouldn't use any part of the Pearse Street site as a "cinema or theatre venue of any kind" for 20 years from February 2016.

As part of the parent permission however, the Marlet Group secured planning for the 500-seat entertainment venue.


Mr Ward claims that the operation of such a venue would breach the covenant. He said his firm initiated High Court proceedings against the Balark and in response Balark undertook in writing not to use the entertainment venue as a cinema or theatre venue of any kind.

Mr Ward said arising from that, he has pressed Balark to disclose the actual intended use of the space. He stated that during the course of a discovery application he found that Balark had not decided on a use for the space.

Mr Ward demanded that the council seek further information from Balark on its plans given that Balark has agreed not to put a cinema or theatre venue of any kind in the development.

However, Dublin City Council granted planning permission without seeking additional information resulting in Mr Ward, through the Dublin Cinema Group, lodging an appeal with An Bord Pleanála.

The council granted planning permission after concluding that the development “is likely to provide a valuable asset to the regeneration of the local area”.

In his appeal, Mr Ward has told the appeals board that the council did not consider the grounds of his company’s submission. He has now asked the appeals board to consider the undertaking by Balark in relation to the operation of the entertainment venue.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times