An Bord Pleanála has refused plans for a pedestrian plaza for College Green in Dublin.
In its decision, it said that while there was merit in the proposals there was not enough information on the impact to traffic, particularly for buses.
The board said there was a failure by Dublin City Council to show that footpaths on either side of the Quays had the capacity to take the increase numbers of pedestrians that would be re-directed onto the Quays as a result of bus re-routing.
The board was unanimous in accepting the inspector's recommendation and refusing the application but said the €10m development of a pedestrian plaza was "acceptable".
"It would produce a quality public realm that would significantly enhance the amenity and attractiveness of this city centre location, would significantly improve the visual amenities of the area and would facilitate improved appreciation of the architectural and cultural heritage of this important site".
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is disappointed that An Bord Pleanála has rejected the plaza plans.
Disappointed that An Bord Pleanála has rejected the College Green plaza. Hopefully Dublin City Council can work up a revised proposal. pic.twitter.com/yInM7u48Mb— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) October 17, 2018
However, a spokesperson for a city centre business group said the plaza plan is now "dead."
Martin Harte of Temple Bar Traders said that "the plan is a wonderful idea but nobody had figured out where the traffic is going to go. The traffic modelling was flawed".
A spokesperson for the National Transport Authority said the refusal was "disappointing".
The spokesperson said: "We will go through the report in detail to assess its full implications and will discuss it with Dublin City Council in due course."
Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring welcomed the decision saying that while "the idea of a civic space is laudable" he always believed that College Street was the wrong place for this because it is an essential North-South bus and taxi route across the city.
Local independent councillor Mannix Flynn welcomed what he said was a "strong result" and said it was warning to Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority not to disrupt the city with their "reckless and dangerous" traffic management plan.
Green party councillor Ciaran Cuffe, who is chair of Dublin City Council's Transport Committee, said he was "saddened" at the news and added that it was "back to the drawing board".
He added "we still desperately need more car-free child-friendly spaces in Dublin City".
Dublin City Council wanted to end east-west traffic movement through College Green and create a pedestrian plaza in front of the Bank of Ireland.
It argued that with the introduction of the Cross City Luas in front of Trinity College there are too many disruptions to traffic flow causing delays, particularly for pedestrians.
A number of bus routes have already been removed and restrictions were introduced to taxis.
Instead the council wanted just a north-south public transport corridor for trams, buses, taxis and cyclists in front of Trinity with the remainder of College Green pedestrianised.
The plan received 93 observations to An Bord Pleanála with objections from hoteliers, city centre business groups, and taxi representatives who argued that it would make it harder to access the city centre.
Dublin Bus would have accepted diversions as long it could have had two way bus lanes on Parliament St, but local businesses there also lodged objections.
In the Dáil, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, reacted angrily to the decision on the plaza.
He said: "Our city is grinding to a halt. The National Planning Framework said we have to go back to the core and create these civic space,s but nothing is happening.
"There isn't a single public transport project being built, there isn't a single cycling project being built. This plan was years in preparation. Now it is thrown out the door and we have to go back to the drawing board."