Developers to face high-rise curbs as council agrees plan

Wed, Jul 28, 2010, 01:00

DEVELOPERS ARE facing severe restrictions on the construction of high-rise buildings in Dublin city following the introduction of the new Dublin City Development Plan next year.

City councillors last night agreed to ban the construction of buildings above 28m (92ft) – about half the height of Liberty Hall – unless a statutory plan called a Local Area Plan (Lap) was drafted for the area in question. Such a plan could take several years to develop.

This would block the construction of any further high-rise or even medium-rise buildings in areas previously earmarked by the council for tall buildings such as the Docklands, Heuston and Connolly stations and George’s Quay.

The Lap, which functions as a development plan specific to a particular area, would have to specify maximum building heights allowed. Until a local area plan was approved all developments would have to remain low rise. Councillors last night agreed to define low rise as up to six storeys in relation to residential buildings and seven storeys for office buildings or a maximum height of less than 28m.

The development of Laps has been a fraught process within the council. Attempts were made over several years to introduce a LAP for Ballsbridge but the plan fell apart when agreement could not be reached on whether to allow a “landmark” tall building.

The amendment to the draft development plan in relation to the development of Laps was agreed last night as a compromise motion. Several councillors had wanted caps on height, and some motions would have seen high rise defined as under 30m.

However the agreed amendment, by effectively deferring any decision on maximum heights, makes the city development plan worthless as a guide to developers as to where applications for tall building would be considered.

The draft plan will be released for a further round of consultation before being formally agreed by councillors later this year.

City manager John Tierney in his report to councillors on the plan had warned putting restrictive caps on heights would have “severe repercussions for the city’s competitiveness”.