Yesterday, I lodged my observations on the planning application submitted with the Planning Department of Dublin City Council seeking permission to redevelop 77 – 80 North King Street, incorporating the Cobblestone.
I have attached below a copy of that submission. If you have any questions or queries arising from the details contained in the submission, please email me at RayMcAdam@gmail.com.
To whom it may concern;
I write to offer an observation on the application that has been submitted to the Planning Department of Dublin City Council seeking permission to construct a nine-storey hotel on the site of 77 – 80 North King Street, Dublin 7, incorporating the Cobblestone Pub.
I should state from the outset, that, as a resident of Dublin 7, I have been a frequenter of the Cobblestone and have enjoyed many an evening’s entertainment with friends and family alike.
Secondly, from reading submissions already lodged with the Planning Department that Dublin City Council is not responsible for developing vacant sites in the city. It is responsible for setting the planning objectives for individual sites and land banks through the determination of Land-Use zoning in the Dublin City Development Plan, the 2016 – 2022 version which remains the rulebook upon which all applications for planning permission are judged against, including this application.
Now, I wish to offer specific observations detailing my concerns about the application relating to 77 – 80 North King Street that is before the Planning Department at present.
The existing Dublin City Development Plan, 2016 – 2022 stipulates that the indicative plot ratio for lands in Zone 5, where this development proposal is located is 2.5-3. The documentation submitted as part of the application process for this proposal contains an indicative plot ratio of 6.4. As has been pointed out by other observers, this represents an indicative plot ratio which exceeds that which is permitted in the Development Plan by between 213% and 256%. This alone is sufficient, in my view, for the Planning Department of Dublin City Council to reject this application for planning permission.
Furthermore, it was confirmed at a Special meeting of the Central Area Committee of Dublin City Council, which I chair, that the indicative site coverage for the proposed redevelopment is 98%. Again, this proposal far exceeds the Indicative Site Coverage for Z5 zoned lands contained in the Dublin City Development Plan 2016 – 2022 which stands at 90%. For this reason and the plot ratio proposed for the redevelopment, I believe this application represents an over-development of the sites in question and therefore the City Council should grant planning permission for a proposal that is clearly in material contravention of the Dublin City Development Plan 2016 – 2022.
While, I personally, am supportive of taller buildings being located within the City Centre and believe Dublin needs to be more than simply a ‘low-rise’ city, the Development Plan through Policy Objective SC16 provides for taller buildings being located in a specific number of areas across the city. This policy objective does not include Smithfield, and therefore, the application, in my view, runs contrary to the Development Plan.
That Special meeting of the Central Area Committee of Dublin City Council which met to discuss this planning application also heard that the proposals contained in the planning currently before Dublin City Council with regards to 77 – 80 North King Street will have a significant impact on buildings that are listed on the Record of Protected Structures. Those buildings are on that Record for a recent and therefore, must be protected. I would ask the Planning Department to consider this matter as part of its determination process into whether planning permission is granted or not.
Finally, in respect of the cultural arguments being put forward against this proposed development and the calls for the application to be rejected by the Planning Department, there are two points I believe are worth noting and ask the Planning Department to bear these in mind. Firstly, when Dublin City Council successfully sought to be a UNESCO City of Literature in 2009, the application documentation included a specific Chapter entitled Dublin: A Cultural City. The chapter noted that “Dublin is famous for its pubs, central to the cultural life of the city as places where people meet, traditional music thrives and where poets and writers launch their books and read their work. Many are used for cultural gatherings where writers and audiences enjoy their often historic surroundings, sharing the very spaces used by their literary forebears, some of which have been immortalised in famous novels, poems and plays.” Furthermore, the application specifically referenced the Cobblestone. Following that successful bid, our City Development Plan promotes the vision of “the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, as a ‘City of Words’. The City Planners who will have to judge this application against the policies and objectives of the Development Plan must consider whether the application before them actually contributes to, or in my view, detracts from Chapter 220.127.116.11, therefore requiring them to reject this application for planning permission.
In conclusion, I welcome the fact that proposals are being brought before this City Council to develop sites that have been lying derelict for too many years. The disappointing thing for me is that this application does not meet the various criteria and adhere to the fundamental policies and objectives contained in the Dublin City Development Plan 2016 – 2022. Fundamental issues such indicative plot ratios and site coverage measurements are substantially greater in this development than are permitted in the City Development Plan and thereby, in my view, constitute a proposed over-development of these lands leaving the City Planners with no other choice than to reject this application for planning permission.
I ask that the Planning Department of Dublin City Council take these views into consideration when determining whether to grant planning permission or not for application number 3617/21 relating to 77 – 80 North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7.
City Councillor – North Inner City
Chair – Planning & Urban Form Strategic Policy Committee
Chair – Dublin Central Area Committee
Leader – Fine Gael, Dublin City Council
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee