Building heights in Dublin

Sir, – It is with alarm that I read Frank Mc Donald's article about the new definition of "low rise" for the purposes of the draft Dublin City Development Plan ("Dublin's character is threatened by high-rise plans", Opinion & Analysis, May 16th). In any European context, and in particular in an Irish context, the idea that up to 28 metres (nine storeys) could be "low rise" is a serious abuse of language and can only be designed to confuse the average citizen.

The development plan has been called an environmental contract between the city and its citizens and there should be no room for confusion or misinterpretation. The attempt to dissemble is made worse by the fact that this is not the first time that the description of allowable building heights has been fudged. In the defunct policy document Maximising the City's Potential, earlier efforts to increase building heights, without actually clearly defining what that would mean, were rejected.

The unique selling point of Dublin is its scale, with big skies and the sight of the mountains at the end of the road. We can increase density and “maximise” its potential without destroying that quality. Let us not try to compare ourselves to London and New York but rather to cities of similar population and scale. Above all , let us not pretend that any building up to nine storeys high is “low rise”. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.