Thousands of apartments in blocks up to 50m or 16 storeys tall will be permitted on the former Irish Glass Bottle site, under plans for the development of a new urban quarter on Dublin’s Poolbeg peninsula.
The draft Poolbeg Special Development Zone (SDZ) scheme – which will allow the fast-track planning for up to 3,000 homes on the former industrial lands – will be available for public consultation next month.
The document, seen by The Irish Times, makes no provision for a proposed “Hollywood-style” film studio, and prohibits one from being developed on the glass bottle site. But, it says there is potential for film industry uses on nearby port lands, “if a situation arose where these lands were not needed by Dublin Port for a period of time”.
However, chief executive of the Dublin Port Company Eamonn O’Reilly said the company needs “every square metre” of its lands and “no port lands are for sale under any circumstances”.
Windmill Lane Studios founder James Morris and film producer Alan Moloney had asked Dublin City Council to set aside 20 acres of the site to develop an €80 million studio complex.
U2 singer Bono has advocated for the project and lobbied former minister for the environment Alan Kelly to support the studio.
But, last month senior council officials said the large “hanger-style” studio would take up 60 per cent of the land designated for housing .
Mr Morris subsequently said Dublin Bay Studios, the firm behind the studio project, would be happy with the same amount of space elsewhere in the Poolbeg zone.
The council’s draft scheme maps various uses for different parts of the land – mostly homes, but also commercial and retail sites, schools and community facilities.
It does not designate any land for the large studio warehouses and outdoor lots needed by the production company.
There was “potential” for media/film production on port lands in the far east of the SDZ area, but only with the agreement of the port company, the council’s plan says.
The port company owns about half of the 34 hectares of the Poolbeg special development zone, of which about 7.5 hectares face the River Liffey, with a larger 10.7-hectare site to the east of the Irish Glass Bottle site.
The largest site in the area, the former glass bottle and adjoining Fabrizia lands comes to just under 15 hectares, and 80 per cent of this is to be used for homes, all of which will be apartments.
The remaining 20 per cent of this site is to be an office and retail “buffer zone” separating the housing from the industrial land banks.
The port company had previously planned to infill 21 hectares of Dublin Bay and had said its 10.7-hectare site – which the SDZ document lists as having potential for film use – could be used for “non-port uses including amenity”.
However, in 2010, An Bord Pleanála refused permission for the infill project.
Mr O’Reilly said, as a result, the company must retain its lands on the peninsula, and that the 10.7-hectare site was needed for cargo handling.
“We cannot afford to lose any port lands, we need every square metre if we are to fulfil the undertaking we have made in out masterplan. No port lands are for sale under any circumstances,” he said.
The fast-track planning scheme is expected to finalised next May.
Once it is in place, landowners will be able to apply for planning permission which cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
Apartment blocks will mostly be under nine storeys but blocks of up to 14 and 16 storeys would also be permitted.