An Taisce seeks Public Response on Dublin High Rise Plans

2nd October 2015
Press Release

An Taisce is seeking to stimulate a large scale public response opposing damaging future high rise development in Dublin.

Yesterday marked the publication of the Draft Dublin City Development Plan by Dublin City Council (DCC) which will define the future development of the capital.

The height policy of DCC wrongly redefines the publicly accepted definition of high and low rise. - "Low-rise" as now defined by DCC for Dublin turns out to be high-rise!

"Low Rise" is defined by DCC in the Draft plan as buildings up to 28m. (See attached photo of 28m building). To put this into perspective it is well to note that in the US, the National Fire Protection Association defines high rise as a building of 22.5m or more. Frankfurt considers 20m to be high rise and will not permit buildings of this height in the city center. It has a separately zoned high rise financial district.

Traditional heights in Dublin rise from 8/9m to the 3 storey-over-basement Georgian house which is approx.14m. This coincides with the accepted definition of low rise as up to 15m. However, since 2011 Dublin has started to grant permission to commercial buildings up to 28m high throughout the city center. The change envisioned in the Draft Plan would allow for the consideration of all buildings - either commercial or residential - to rise to 28m throughout the city center.

The Draft City Development Plan while purporting to retain most of the city as a "low-rise" area is, in reality, converting the entire inner city to high-rise.

A significant aspect of Dublin's undoubted charm is its human scale, character and harmonious relation of building height to street widths - Dublin is compared to Amsterdam and Copenhagen in combining the function of a vibrant capital with the maintenance of historic low rise character. This charm is very fragile and, unless very carefully treated, can easily be destroyed.

The provision in the Draft City Development Plan to allow such extreme heights in the city center will undoubtedly have the effect of destroying the intimate charm of the entire city.

The pretense is that other than at Heuston, the Docklands, Connolly and George's Quay where "high rise" is allowed, and Phibsborough, Grangegorman and Digital Hub where mid-rise buildings are allowed, all the remaining area of the city between the canals will be "low-rise".

Members of the public are invited to make submissions on the Draft Dublin City Development Plan but the decision on whether to agree to what amounts to the conversion of all of Dublin city center into a high rise area rests entirely with the elected City Councillors.

Dublin has many areas that are suitable for high-rise buildings - many, including the Docklands and along the Luas line towards Red Cow have been identified. What is not in the interest of the city or the country, is to allow the character of the historic center of Dublin, built up over 1000 years, to be destroyed - we only have to look to neighboring Georgian cities in Britain (Edinburgh, Bath, etc) to realise the enormous contribution that the built heritage makes to the economy.

Ideally, City Councillors should consider lowering the permissible 28m height in the historic City Center to the genuine low-rise height of 15m. This is the appropriate maximum height for the city center of a low-rise city like Dublin.

Public submissions may be made up to 11 Dec 2015 to planning@dublincity.ie

ENDS

For further information, please call:
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 241 1995
Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce Tel:+353 1 454 1786
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org