Councillor Kieran Binchy welcomes approval of Docklands Strategic Development Zone.

Docklands councillor Kieran Binchy

Docklands councillor Kieran Binchy

Councillor Kieran Binchy has hailed An Bord Pleanála’s decision to approve the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock Planning Scheme as ‘a welcome boost for Dublin’.

This approval will facilitate fast-track planning for the Docklands Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), accelerating the social and economic regeneration of the Docklands.

Kieran, standing for Fine Gael in Pembroke South Dock in the Dublin City Council elections on Friday, May 23, said: “Dublin city centre needs new offices, and office space in the Docklands area is highly attractive – not least to international investors.

“Residential development is also a key part of the plan. The existing apartments in the Docklands are proving hugely popular – I live in one myself – and the SDZ scheme provides for 50% of the new development to be residential. This is also very welcome. Good quality apartments close to the city centre is vital forDublinto grow sustainably.

“Dublin City Council research shows that 80% of people who live in the city centre cycle or walk to work, so more residential development in Docklands will be important for Dublin.”

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn also welcomed the approval but warned that: “Many of the sites are controlled by NAMA appointed receivers so I welcome the indications from NAMA that they will play a pro-active role in entering joint ventures and releasing sites for development.

“It is key however, that the government proceeds to legislate for the vacant sites levy recommended by my Taskforce as, in a rising market, we must do everything we can to discourage the short-term investor who may seek to mothball sites in the expectation of flipping them on in a few years at a profit.”

The remaining sites available for development in the North Lotts and Grand Canal Schemes equate to circa 22 Hectares, an area roughly equivalent in scale to the entire Custom House Docks / IFSC Area.

The IFSC area alone has already generated an employment capacity of almost 24,000 persons at the end of 2010. This demonstrates the significance of the area in terms of job creation, foreign direct investment and the economic potential of the remaining lands available at Spencer Dock North and Grand Canal.

Under the SDZ, the floorspace to be delivered amounts to almost 2,600 residential units and almost 305,000 – 366,000 square metres of commercial floorspace. This potential would deliver an additional residential population of almost 5,800 and employment of almost 23,000 people.

The approved scheme has been set up to provide for both a wide range of employment needs and also to provide for a variety of much-needed residential accommodation for the City.

The planning scheme for the Docklands SDZ seeks to meet the future needs of the City, by creating a vibrant living urban quarter and an economic cluster, capable of competing on an international level. The Docklands area has the potential to support real economic recovery and provide for a critical mass of development, to foster investment and innovation and sustain the growth of key sectors, such as financial services and the services economy.

The Planning Scheme provides a clear blueprint for development with a certainty of outcome for applicants, which is likely to be a critical factor in attracting potential investors. This in turn will facilitate economic recovery and employment creation. It also provides an appropriate balance between investor certainty and community involvement.