Sky is the limit as docks plan passed

Claire Murphy

DUBLIN City Council has given the green light to a new fast-track planning scheme which would allow for skyscrapers of up to 22 storeys high in the docklands.

The docklands strategic development zone (SDZ) gives council planners ultimate power to make decisions that could not be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

This will also give them the right to grant permission for buildings up to 50pc higher than the tallest building in Dublin at the moment.

Under the plan, about 2,600 new homes and 300-350sqm of commercial space could be built, according to the council.


The major move is the first planning scheme for the region since the decision to wind up the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA).

The DDDA's powers have been transferred to the council.

There are just four weeks for the public to lodge an appeal against the scheme with An Bord Pleanála.

But, if approved by the board, all future applications made for this part of the docklands must be granted permission and cannot be appealed to the planning board.

The development zone covers the North Lotts area on the north side of the Liffey and stretches to the Grand Canal Dock area on the south side.

Parts of the docklands closest to the city centre – including the IFSC – are also included in the scheme.

About 22 out of 66 hectares are currently vacant in the development.

The plan to develop the area provides the potential for about 20,000 to 23,000 jobs, according to the council.

Thee areas seen as ripe for economic development and the provision of housing have been targeted.

Five development "hubs" have been identified around Spencer Dock, Point Village, Grand Canal Dock, Britain Quay and Boland's Mills.

These have been subdivided into 22 city blocks which would have their own particular planning parameters.

All along the rest of the zone, there have been height limits put in place.

Along the quays, up to eight storeys would be permitted for commercial use and 10 storeys residential and blocks of up to six storeys at the edge of the city and seven for residential development.

However, within the city environs, the maximum height allowed is five storeys (commercial) or six storeys (residential).


But, the plan outlines that if a convincing case can be made by developers, there would be provision for an additional floor.

Already planners have eyed up suitable spots for a major 22-storey commercial development, with Point Square on the north side and Britain Quay on south side both suitable.

The massive buildings would reach to almost half the height again of Dublin's tallest commercial building, the Google-owned Montevetro building.

The building on nearby Barrow Street is 15-storeys tall.