Dublin City Council planners have told An Bord Pleanála that Johnny Ronan's 40-plus storey tower scheme for Dublin’s docklands should be refused on a number of grounds.
As part of a 63-page planning report lodged with An Bord Pleanála, the planners say Mr Ronan’s Waterfront South Central scheme represents over-development and is "an inadequate design response to this sensitive site, would be of insufficient architectural quality, and if permitted would result in a poor placemaking outcome".
The Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) scheme includes two planned 45- and 44-storey towers made up of 1,005 apartments with RGRE planning to sell 101 apartments at an estimated cost of €66.69 million to the council for social housing.
A decision is due on the scheme later this month and the Council planners have told An Bord Pleanála that the scheme if permitted "would negatively impact the receiving environment, in terms of daylight, sunlight and wind, and resulting in a poor standard of residential amenity for future residents".
The Council has also recommended refusal as the proposed development would not be consistent with the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock SDZ Planning Scheme, which sets out specific height limits for the application site.
The Council also says that on the basis of the Sunlight/Daylight and Overshadowing analysis submitted, it maintains serious concerns in respect of potential detrimental impact on the amenities of the surrounding residential developments and public realm.
It states: "Furthermore, the submitted report demonstrates that a significant quantum of the proposed residential units would fail to meet the recommended Average Daylight Factor (ADF) requirements, thereby resulting in a poor standard of residential amenity."
On the impact of the local road network, the Council claims that the proposed development would be injurious to the safe and convenient movement of people, would result in potential vehicular and pedestrian conflict along the road and would, therefore, endanger public safety by reason of a traffic hazard and obstruction of road users.
Members of Dublin City Council viewed a presentation of the scheme made by Council Executive Planner Colm Harte.
A council report on the proceedings states that "members strongly objected to the height of proposed development" and "serious concern was expressed about the impact of overshadowing and overlooking of adjoining properties in Mayor Street and surrounding areas".
The report says that one councillor expressed concern that the scheme was mostly one- and two-bed units and that developers need to understand that families also need a place in the inner city.
Asked to respond to the contents of the planner's report and the council members’ concerns, a spokeswoman for RGRE said: "Our ambition for Waterfront South Central is to create a landmark new development for Dublin that sets the standard for responsible and integrated development as the greenest city quarter in Ireland."
He stated: "At a time of much-needed housing, Waterfront South Central will deliver more than 1,000 apartments, including 100 social housing units."
"Residents, the local community and the public at large, will have access to more than 6,000 square metres of community and public spaces throughout the scheme, including Ireland’s highest public viewing deck and restaurant, a visitor experience, cafes, crèche facilities, a farmers’ market, a bakery, and a waterfront Townhall space that will be made freely available to the local community."
RGRE will be pinning its hopes on An Bord Pleanála's frequent practice of dismissing Dublin local authorities’ recommendation to refuse planning to fast track apartment schemes and giving those projects the green light.
The developer’s hopes were boosted in March when An Bord Pleanála threw out the City Council’s proposals to permit only modest height increases in tower blocks for the site where Mr Ronan is planning to build.
In rejecting the city council’s proposed amendments to the local Special Development Zone (SDZ) Planning Scheme, Board member, Paul Hyde stated that the Board considers the city council’s proposed amendments "to be a missed opportunity to accommodate much needed residential homes and commercial floor space for a growing and changing population, demographics and employment sector within the city centre on a strategic and well serviced land bank".