Docklands plan gets a welcome go-ahead

by Gazette Reporter

A DECISION by An Bord Pleanala to approve the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock planning scheme has been welcomed by Dublin City Council (DCC).
According to the council, this approval will facilitate “fast-track planning” for the Docklands Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), which has “significant economic and social importance for the city and State, keeping the focus on the social and economic regeneration of the docklands”.
The council said this area would be a vibrant living quarter and economic hub that would “compete on an international level”.
Commenting on the approval, outgoing Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn (Lab) said: “There is an urgent need for new offices in the city centre. The docklands area is highly attractive to international investors so the approval of the planning scheme should now lead to construction of new commercial developments. The plan also prioritises residential development. The existing apartments in the docklands are proving very popular, and the SDZ scheme provides for 50% of the new development to be residential.
“This is also very welcome. Good quality apartments close to the city centre are vital for Dublin to grow sustainably. Our research shows that 80% of people, who live in the city centre, cycle or walk to work, so more residential development in the docklands will be important for Dublin.”
However, he added: “Many of the sites are controlled by NAMA-appointed receivers so I welcome the indications from NAMA that they will play a pro-active role in entering joint ventures and releasing sites for development.”
Councillor-elect for the North Inner City area Ciaran Cuffe (GP) said it was important that a “housing mix” be included in any future residential development there.
“There is demand for [accommodation for] single people or small units in Dublin, but I would still like to see a decent number of family homes in any future development.
“The Dublin City Development plan insists on 20% of social and affordable housing so it is important that this is included in the development and that it doesn’t become a gated and guarded community; that the design fits in well with the rest of the area.
“This is a framework for the future… it sets down the ground rules for development and it is crucial that the city council carefully considers any proposals to make sure it complies with the plan,” he said.
There are currently about 22 hectares for development remaining in this area – equivalent to the entire Custom House Docks-IFSC area.
The floorspace for this plan could see 2,600 residential units and 305,000 to 366,000 sq m of commercial floorspace, which the council said had the potential to deliver an additional residential population of almost 5,800 and employment for close to 23,000 people.
The approved scheme was set up to provide for a wide range of “employment needs and also to provide for a variety of much-needed residential accommodation for the City,” the council said.
“The planning scheme for the docklands SDZ seeks to meet the future needs of the city, by creating a vibrant living urban quarter and an economic cluster, capable of competing on an international level.
“The planning scheme provides a clear blueprint for development with a certainty of outcome for applicants, which is likely to be a critical factor in attracting potential investors,” a council statement said.

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