Businesses dispute council’s plans for Liffey Street Plaza

Dublin City Centre Traders Alliance say plans must be sent to An Bord Pleanála

A business group representing some of Dublin's biggest retailers, including Arnotts and Brown Thomas, has warned Dublin City Council over plans to ban private cars in a new Liffey Street pedestrian plaza.

The council plans to pedestrianise Lower Liffey Street beside the Ha'penny Bridge, following the refusal last year by An Bord Pleanála of the College Green plaza.

The creation of the Liffey Street plaza would block traffic on Abbey Street from reaching the quays at Bachelor’s Walk. An average of 1,000 motorists use the route each day.

Unlike the College Green civic plaza proposal, the council does not intend to submit its Liffey Street plans to An Bord Pleanála. The College Green scheme would have banned all traffic, including buses and taxis, from accessing Dame Street through College Green.


Instead the council will pursue the project within its own in-house planning system, where the plans are released for public consultation, and councillors then decide whether the project gets the go-ahead.

However, the Dublin City Centre Traders Alliance has warned council chief executive Owen Keegan that in the view of the alliance, the council is required to submit the Liffey Street plans to An Bord Pleanála.

The alliance was set up to oppose plans for the College Green plaza, and had threatened legal action if the council did not submit the College Green plans to the board.

Traffic study

In a letter to Mr Keegan the alliance said the council was required to submit the Liffey Street plans to the board “as the council were required to do when making application for the College Green proposals, rejected by An Bord Pleanála recently”.

The letter from the alliance's chairman, solicitor and developer Noel Smyth, accused the council of "tinkering" with the overall traffic management and calls for an "international study" of traffic movements in the city.

“If the council take a narrow view, as I submit they are doing today, in trying to restrict private cars coming into the city centre, the damage that will be done in the overall redevelopment of the city will be lost for decades,” he said.

The Liffey Street plans, commissioned by the council from DHB Architects, propose the creation of a pedestrian plaza between Strand Street and the quays, with a water feature outside the Woollen Mills cafe.

Traffic on Abbey Street, including cars exiting the Arnotts car park, would no longer be able to access the quays via Liffey Street Lower, but would instead have to turn right into Strand Street and continue to Capel Street to reach the quayside at Grattan Bridge, resulting in a detour of more than half a kilometre to reach Bachelors Walk. Deliveries will still be allowed up to 11am.

A traffic study showed an average of 1,000 vehicles and 32,000 pedestrians travel through the area each day.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times