Planning and height limits in Dublin

Sir, – In his "Planning free-for-all has developers reaching for the sky" (Opinion & Analysis, May 29th), Frank McDonald returns to his now familiar stance of defending Dublin city from what he sees as the excesses of height in urban landscape.

It is not the case that An Bord Pleanála’s permission for a 22-storey block on Tara Street was “prompted … [by Minister for Housing Eoghan] Murphy’s carte blanche for high rise – irrespective of what’s in the current Dublin city development plan”.

Far from cutting across the city plan, An Bord Pleanála’s decision recognises the planning context previously set by the city councillors.

The city development plan (section 4.5.4) explicitly envisages taller buildings (over 50 metres) as part of the urban form and spatial structure of the city and that they “are acceptable at locations such as at major public transport hubs”.


In respect of Tara Street specifically, An Bord Pleanála noted also that the proposed development is “consistent with the overall aims of the George’s Quay LAP [local area plan] 2012 which identifies the site as a location for a building of up to 88m (22 storeys) in height”.

Frank McDonald has long been an advocate for good planning and has facilitated public debate on density and height.

The new guidelines on height in urban development were subject to a period of consultation with the public before their confirmation, as were city development and local area plans. It is fair that assumptions about the possible impact of any given development against those plans continue to be tested, but it is important that this work always takes an evidence-based approach. – Yours, etc,



Irish Planning Institute,

Great Strand Street,

Dublin 1.