Google’s rooftop sports pitch approved despite local opposition

Locals wary of noise and light from pitch on fifth storey of new Barrow Street office

Google has secured approval for a rooftop sports pitch as part of its major new development on the site of the former Boland's Mill near the Grand Canal Dock, despite opposition from local residents.

Dublin City Council has granted planning permission to the US multinational for an open air "multi-sports enclosure" on the fifth storey of a new office block on Barrow Street.

The pitch, which will cover 220sqm, will be fully enclosed with netting and forms part of a new €300m urban regeneration project to provide Google with additional office and amenity space for the expanding operations of its EMEA headquarters in Dublin.

Google said the pitch would be used for sports activities including football, volleyball and fitness classes.


It also got the go-ahead for an outdoor seating area on the rooftop of an adjoining office block also at fifth-floor level.

Opposition to the plans had been voiced by the Shelbourne Park Residents Association which claimed the lighting system and noise from the playing pitch would cause a nuisance to the owners of nearby properties.

The association's planning officer, Billy Ryan, said residents were concerned that bright light from the facility would spill out onto Barrow Street and other nearby streets and houses.

He claimed locals were also worried that the rooftop facilities would be used to stage events at night time which would “impinge on the peace and privacy” of residents in the area.

Consultants acting for the tech giant said the lighting scheme proposed to illuminate the sports pitch was less bright than that typically used for outdoor sports pitches in order to reduce obtrusive light on the surrounding area.

Dublin City Council imposed a number of conditions as part of the grant of planning permission including the ban on the use of loudspeakers or amplified music from the rooftop areas.

It also limited the operating hours of the sports pitch and rooftop terrace to 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday and to 9am to 5pm on Saturdays between October and March with longer opening hours on weekdays of 8am to 10pm between April and September.

The facilities cannot be used at all on Sundays or bank holidays.

Council planners acknowledged that the steel structure enclosing the sports pitch would be visible but said it was lightweight and permeable and would “not result in an overbearing impact or result in an unacceptable visual impact.”

The residents' group has until November 4th to consider lodging an appeal against the decision with An Bord Pleanála.