Bord Pleanála approves fast track planning for Dublin docklands

Developers can build up to 22 storeys

The Government has sanctioned the designation of 66 hectares of riverside lands, previously under the control of the Dublin Dockland Authority, for the new planning zone. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Government has sanctioned the designation of 66 hectares of riverside lands, previously under the control of the Dublin Dockland Authority, for the new planning zone. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fri, May 23, 2014, 01:00

A fast-track planning scheme which would allow buildings up to 88 metres or 22 storeys high in Dublin’s docklands has been approved by An Bord Pleanála.

Owners of sites in the new docklands strategic development zone (SDZ) now have the opportunity to secure construction permission from Dublin city planners which cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

The scheme is the first major planning initiative for the area since the Government decision to wind up the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) and transfer its powers to Dublin City Council. The Government has sanctioned the designation of 66 hectares of riverside lands, previously under the control of the authority, for the new planning zone.

All new development applications made for this part of the docklands must be granted permission if they are consistent with the scheme and cannot be appealed.

The development zone covers the Grand Canal Dock area on the south side of the river and North Lotts area on the north side, the parts of the docklands closest to the city centre and seen as the most viable in terms of development and the provision of housing.

Within the 66 hectares, about 22 hectares are available for development. Under the plan about 2,600 new homes and 300-350sq m of commercial space could be built.

Development ‘hubs’ The area has been divided into five development “hubs” around Spencer Dock, Point Village, Grand Canal Dock, Britain Quay and Boland’s Mills.

Two areas have been identified as suitable for a 22-storey commercial building: the Point Square on the north side and Britain Quay on the south side. If built, these would be almost half as high again as Dublin’s tallest commercial building, the Google-owned, 15-storey Montevetro building on nearby Barrow Street.

An Bord Pleanála held public hearings on the scheme earlier this year, and height was the most contentious issue aired. Residents objected to excessive heights, while landowners and prospective developers said the heights were too restrictive.

The board’s inspector Conor McGrath recommended against “ad hoc” modification of building heights which he said would disrupt the “integrity and consistency of the scheme”.