Designation of Dublin Docklands Areas as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ)

The Government has announced details of the designation of the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock areas of the Dublin Docklands as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ). This will provide for continued fast-track planning in designated areas on the wind up of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) next year.

The SDZ designation, proposed by Dublin City Council as the development agency, has been made in the context of the Government’s decision last May to wind up the DDDA and its commitment to provide for continued availability of fast-track planning in order to maintain the attractiveness of the Dublin Docklands area as a prime location for inward investment.

The North Lottsand Grand Canal Dock area of the Dublin Docklands comprises some 66 hectares of the overall 520-hectare Dublin Docklands area and is where the greatest focus and pressure for redevelopment is likely to occur in the short to medium term. 

The lands included in the SDZ (for which there are two DDDA planning schemes to guide their development) extend north and south of the River Liffey at a strategic location:  North Lotts immediately adjoins the IFSC and includes the site of the Convention Centre, while Grand Canal Dock is in close proximity to the city’s central business district and south city retail core area. 

Within the 66-hectare zone, there remains a number of strategic sites and vacant developable lands which make up 22 hectares (or 55 acres) of development potential for major economic and community expansion, a substantial scale in the context of city-centre regeneration.  The capacity of the proposed SDZ lands is estimated to be 350,000m2 of commercial floor space (enough to accommodate 30,000 employees) many of which are likely to be in high-value financial, technological and services sectors, with potential for up to 3,300 residential units (capable of housing a population of 6,600).

The proposed SDZ will support an eastward extension of Dublin City Centre and the areas involved are well-served by high-quality public transport, including Luas, DART and mainline rail commuter services, while the more long-term proposals for a DART underground station at Spencer Dock would potentially result in the lands becoming the most accessible and connected part of the city.  The Samuel Beckett Bridgeprovides a vital link between the two locations north and south of the River Liffey.  The area, which encompasses several major attractions, including the Convention Centre at Spencer Dock, the O2 Arena at the Point Village and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre at Grand Canal Dock, has the potential to become a major magnet for employment and cultural and leisure uses of national importance.

Over the coming months, Dublin City Council will undertake wide-ranging consultations to inform and shape the development of the SDZ planning scheme, which will ultimately be approved by members of the City Council (with input from the Docklands Board, Council and Community Liaison Committee).  In the intervening period until the new SDZ comes into effect later in 2013, the current Docklands Section 25 planning system remains in effect, whereby applications will be assessed against the current North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock planning schemes and the Docklands Master Plan. 

“The Government want to continue the revitalisation and regeneration of this strategic area and we are committed to providing a seamless transition from the current Section 25 planning process to the new SDZ arrangements to maintain this momentum and foster market interest in these prime sites.” explains Phil Hogan, TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

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