Planning board refuses permission for 16-storey scheme in Cabra

Scheme would be premature pending finalisation of design for Luas Green Line extension, says board

An artist's impression of the proposed Royal Canal Square development in Cabra.

An Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission for a 16-storey high mixed-use scheme to create “a dynamic new urban quarter” and bring hundreds of jobs to Cabra east on Dublin’s north side.

The board turned down plans by Woodberry Printing Ltd for its planned Royal Canal Square development on several grounds, including that the scheme would be premature pending the finalisation of the design for the Luas Green Line extension.

The appeals board also refused planning permission after concluding that the scheme would be premature pending the preparation of a feasibility study and a local statutory plan for the Dublin Industrial Estate, also known as the Broombridge Industrial Estate.

The board said the scheme, if granted, would result in piecemeal and fragmented development, lacking coherent integration with the surrounding area and adjacent sites and impeding the future development potential of the area.

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The appeals board also found that the proposal, due to a combination of the excessive height, bulk, massing and length of the proposed buildings, would result in the overdevelopment of the site and would constitute an overly dominant, overbearing, incongruous and monolithic form of development.

Upholding the recommendation by its inspector, Terence McLellan, to refuse planning permission after his 59-page report, the appeals board also found that the scheme would have a significant detrimental impact on visual amenity and would fail to successfully integrate into the existing surrounding area and public realm.

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In the plans, Woodberry Printing Ltd was seeking permission for its development on a 5.63-acre site at the Broombridge industrial estate in Dublin 11 that was to also include four blocks with the tallest reaching 16 storeys in height.

The scheme includes 304 apartments and a 100-bedroom family hotel along with 44,365 sq m in office space and 14 retail units. In an attempt to secure permission, the applicants proposed that the 16-storey block be reduced to 12 while a 12-storey block be reduced to 10.

The applicants also offered to reduce the amount of office floor space. The decision upholds a planning refusal issued by Dublin City Council in November 2022.

In the appeal, Hughes Planning and Development Consultants contended that the proposal has had due regard for the emerging preferred route for the future Luas Green Line extension.

The appeal argued that the scheme is the optimum starting point for the redevelopment and regeneration of the southern part of the Broombridge Industrial Estate and will act as a stimulus for the continued development of the area.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times