Chapter 15: Development standards

Dúnta25 Sam, 2021, 12:00am - 14 Fea, 2022, 4:30pm

15.1    Introduction

This chapter of the plan sets out the standards and criteria to be considered in in the development management process so that development proposals can be assessed both in terms of how they contribute to the achievement of the core strategy and related policies and objectives.

The guidance and principles set out are intended as a guide to prospective applicants as to how new development should stimulate responsive and innovate design in the city. Advice is also set out regarding specific land use types and developments.

As set out in Chapter 4: Shape and Structure of the City, the philosophy of Dublin City Council is to develop a planning approach that values urbanism and the creation of vibrant, safe, comfortable and attractive urban places where people want to live, work, meet and enjoy their leisure time. The City Council will expect applicants to demonstrate a comprehensive and integrated approach to design of all development.

The guidance in this chapter has been informed by the National Planning Framework 2040 and the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly – Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (2019-2031). The NPF and RSES encourage and support the densification of existing urban areas and promote the use of performance based criteria in the assessment of developments to achieve well designed and high quality outcomes.

NPO 6, 13 and 35 and RPO 4.3 and 5.4 specifically encourage the rejuvenation of urban areas reutilising existing buildings and brownfield sites for increased heights and densities subject to compliance with a series of qualitative assessments. These objectives, together with the Specific Planning Policy Requirements as set out in Section 28 Guidelines, including the Urban Development and Building Height Guidelines (2018) and the Sustainable Urban Housing; Design Standards for New Apartments, Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2020) have informed the development management guidelines as set out in this chapter.

15.2    Planning Process and Documentation

15.2.1 Legislative Context

Development management is an integral part of the planning process. Applicants are encouraged to consult the development plan and other guidelines set out herein to ascertain the requirements for development proposals. Part III of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, sets out the legislative context for the control of development and the planning application process with reference to Part 4 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, in respect of the requirements for planning applications. In accordance with the relevant legislation, this chapter of the development plan will provide further guidance and specific requirements in respect of the necessary components to be submitted and considered as part of a planning application.

15.2.2 Section 247 Pre Planning Consultation

Applicants are advised to engage in Pre Application Consultation with the Planning Department prior to the lodgement of significant planning applications as provided for in Section 247 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

This process provides for an opportunity for the planning authority to consider the development in principle and advise the applicant of relevant policies and objectives to influence its design having regard to the key objectives of the development plan in order to ensure the delivery of high quality schemes.

15.2.3 Planning Application Documentation - Planning Thresholds

The planning application process involves the assessment of a range of different factors including architectural design, landscape, ecology and the environment, services and drainage, visual impact, conservation, transportation and microclimate including daylight and sunlight access, noise and wind.

Planning applications should be supported by the necessary analysis and documentation to demonstrate the proposed design and rational for a scheme. To assist in the planning application preparation, Table 15-1 sets out the development thresholds for some of the documentation related to specific planning applications. Applicants are advised to consult this table at an early stage in the planning application process.

Table 15-1:      Thresholds for Planning Applications


Residential Threshold

Commercial Threshold


Architectural Design Report

30 or more residential units

Site Specific Circumstances


Housing Quality Assessment

All residential developments



Landscape Design Report

30 or more residential units

1,000 sq. m. or more


Planning Report

30 or more residential units

1,000 sq. m. or more


Daylight and Sunlight Assessment

All apartment developments

Site Specific Circumstances*


Community and Social Audit

50 or more residential units


Any Development Comprising of Community or Social Infrastructure**.

Lifecycle Report

All apartment developments



Community Safety Strategy

100 residential units



Operational Management Statement

30 or more residential units


Hotel, Aparthotel

Traffic and Transport Assessment

50 or more residential units


Any development with construction of new roads, any project which materially affects vulnerable road users, amendments to existing roads or generating significant road movements.

Mobility Management Plan/ Travel Plan

20 or more residential units

Over 100 Employees

Any development with zero / reduced car parking. School campuses and large childcare services.

Road Safety Audit



Any development with construction of new roads, any project which materially affects vulnerable road users, amendments to existing roads or generating significant road movements.

Service Delivery and Access Strategy

All Mews/Backland Dwellings

*****Site specific circumstances

Student Accommodation, Hotel, Aparthotel

Engineering Services Report (Civil and Structural)

30 or more residential units

1,000 sq. m. or more


Construction Management Plan

30 or more residential units

1,000 sq. m. or more


Construction Demolition Waste Management Plan

30 or more residential units

1,000 sq. m. or more


Operational Waste Management Plan

30 or more residential units

1,000 sq. m. or more


Basement Impact Assessment



All developments which include basement levels.

Climate Action and Energy Statement (including District Heating)

30 or more residential units

1,000 sq. m. or more


Surface Water Management Plan – see Appendix 13

2 or more residential units

100 sq. m.


Noise Assessment



Any noise generating use and or any development within designated noise zones as indicated on development plan zoning maps.

Site Specific Flood Risk Assessment



Any developments within a Flood Risk Zones A and B.

Site Investigation Report



All developments on sites that comprise of contaminated lands and/ or where basement is proposed.

Conservation Report



Any development relating to a protected structure, within the curtilage of a protected structure, and / or effecting or within the curtilage of a protected monument. Developments within an ACA may require report depending on the scale of development proposed.

Retail Impact Statement



Retail development *** of 2,000 sq. m (net comparison floorspace) and 1,500 sq. m. (net convenience floorspace) outside of the city centre and KUV’s.

Ecological Impact Assessment



All developments that are located within or adjacent to any sensitive habitat, on sites that could contain protected species or in a quality landscape environment.

Appropriate Assessment Screening and NIS



An Appropriate Assessment Screening is required for all developments. A stage 2 (Natura Impact Statement) is required where significant effects on the environment are likely either alone or in combination with any other project.

Environmental Impact Assessment



All Developments within the threshold set out in Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended or any development that has a significant impact on the environment.

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, Microclimate Assessment, Telecommunications Report – see Appendix 3

Site Specific Circumstances****

Site Specific Circumstances****



*Daylight / Sunlight Assessment required for site specific circumstances to demonstrate potential impact on surrounding properties – See Appendix 16 for further guidance.

**Community and Social Infrastructure include School’s, Crèche’s, Community Centre, Places of Worship, Public Parks, Library’s or any publically accessible state owned building.

***Retail includes supermarket, discount supermarket, convenience store, comparison store, retail warehouse, any store for the sale of goods and/ or clothing.

****These reports will be required on a case by case basis having regard to the height and density of the proposal. See Appendix 3 for further details.

*****Service Delivery and Access Strategy required for site specific circumstances to demonstrate adequate access and ability to service site (see Appendix 5 for further guidance).

15.2.4 Interest in Property

With regard to submitting a planning application, under the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 (as amended), an applicant who is not the legal owner of the land or structure in question must submit a letter of consent from the owner in order to make the planning application. The Development Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities, 2007, provide further guidance on this matter.

15.2.5 Development Contributions

Dublin City Council may, when granting planning permission, attach conditions requiring the payment of contribution(s) in respect of public infrastructure and facilities, benefiting development in its area. Details of such contributions are set out in the Council’s Development Contribution Scheme, and in Supplementary Development Contribution Schemes, where relevant, which are available to view on

15.3    Environmental Assessment - EIA/AA/Ecological Impact Assessment

15.3.1 Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) consider whether development projects either alone or in combination are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

The Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, set out the mandatory thresholds for specified classes of development in which the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment applies. An EIA may need to be carried out even if the development is below the mandatory thresholds as set out in the regulations based on the potential impact on the environment.

The process involves the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) by the applicant and an examination and analysis of the EIAR and other relevant information leading to a reasoned conclusion by the competent authority (Dublin City Council) on the likely significant effects of the proposed development on the environment.

All planning applications will undergo EIA Screening by the competent authority as part of the planning application process. An EIA Screening Statement should be submitted with all applications. For further guidance see OPR Practice Note PN02 – Environmental Impact Assessment Screening see

To facilitate the proper assessment of a development proposal in circumstances where it is considered that a proposed development would be likely to have a significant effect on the environment, due to the nature, scale or location of the proposal, Dublin City Council will require the submission of an Environmental Impact Statement in accordance with the provisions of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended.

15.3.2 Appropriate Assessment

Appropriate Assessment (AA) under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive considers whether or not a proposed plan or project would adversely affect the integrity of a European Site.

With introduction of the EU Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and the EU Habitats Directive (43/92/EEC) came the obligation to establish the Natura 2000 network of sites of highest biodiversity importance for rare and threatened habitats and species across the EU. In Ireland, the Natura 2000 network of European sites comprises Special Areas of Conservation (including candidate SACs), and Special Protection Areas (including proposed SPAs).

The aim of both directives is to maintain and, where necessary, restore the favourable conservation status of natural habitats and species across Europe, and in this way, to contribute to sustainable development and to promote the maintenance of Europe’s biodiversity.

Appropriate Assessment (AA) is a key protection mechanism for the relevant sites and species, whereby it is a requirement to consider the potential nature conservation implications of any plan or project on the Natura 2000 site network before any decision is made to allow that plan or project to proceed. AA is a focused and detailed impact assessment of the implications of a plan or project, alone and in combination with other plans and projects, on the integrity of a Natura 2000 site in view of its conservation objectives.

In determining whether AA is required, an AA Screening Statement is firstly prepared. The screening statement assesses, in view of best scientific knowledge, whether a proposed plan or project, individually or in combination with another plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on a European Site. If it is determined through the screening process that significant effects are likely, then a Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment, which includes a Natura Impact Assessment, is required.

All applications will be screened for AA by the competent authority (Dublin City Council) as part of the planning process. Applicants are however, required to carry out a screening statement and subsequent Stage 2 assessment (if necessary) for inclusion with the planning application.

Requirements for compliance with AA are set out in the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended). ‘Appropriate Assessment of Plans and Projects in Ireland – Guidance for Planning Authorities’ (2009)’, jointly prepared by National Parks and Wildlife Service and Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, provides more detailed guidance on AA and is available to view at the following link:

Guidance is also provided in the OPR Practice Note PN01 – Appropriate Assessment Screening for Development Management – see

The European Commission has also published guidance on Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, including on Appropriate Assessment Screening. Please see the guidance documents: Assessment of plans and projects significantly affecting Natura 2000 sites (November 2001) and Managing Natura 2000 sites: The provisions of Article 6 of the ‘Habitats’ Directive (2018). Both available at this link:

15.3.3 Ecological Impact Assessment

An Ecological Impact Assessment should be carried out for all developments within or adjacent to any sensitive habitat, ecological corridor, specific landscape character area or which has the potential to contain protected habitats or species.

The Planning Authority may request an Ecological Impact Assessment to be submitted as part of the planning application for any other development considered ecologically sensitive (see also policy GI13, Chapter 10).

15.4    Key Design Principles

High quality design supports the creation of good places and has a positive impact on health and well-being. All development will be expected to incorporate exemplary standards of high quality sustainable and inclusive urban design and architecture befitting the city’s environment and heritage and its diverse range of locally distinctive neighbourhoods. The following key design principles will be considered in the assessment of development proposals.

15.4.1 Healthy Placemaking

Healthy placemaking is a combined approach to planning, design and management of public spaces. Good placemaking design will ensure the success of local areas and spaces which will promote activity and provide vitality to an area, positively contributing to public health and well- being. It is essential that new developments have regard to good healthy placemaking principles to create climate resilient environments in which people want to engage, resulting in sustainable, well designed and strong communities.

All developments will be encouraged to support the creation and nurturing of sustainable neighbourhoods and healthy communities, which are designed to facilitate active travel including walking and cycling, close to public transport insofar as possible, and a range of community infrastructure, in quality, more intensive mixed-use environments in line with the principles of the 15 minute city as set out in Chapters 4 and 5. The provision of active recreation and sports facilities in new neighbourhoods and public spaces will be supported as well as greening measures including the use of nature based water retention infrastructure in the public realm (see policy GI27, objective GIO5).

Key principles to consider are:

  • The contribution to the public realm for the benefit and / or enjoyment of the locality.
  • The ability to create a sense of place and community using existing site features, tree coverage and landscaping to support green infrastructure and healthy streets.
  • The use of high quality materials and finishes including hard and soft landscaping.
  • The orientation of open space and the accessibility to daylight and sunlight.
  • Quality of proposed public, private, and communal open spaces and recreational facilities and the relationship of proposed open spaces with any existing public open space including linkages and permeability to adjacent neighbourhood, facilities and streets.
  • The accessibility of the development and the traffic calming measures in place in accordance with DMURS.
  • The attractiveness of the development for various activities such as walking, cycling, sitting, dining etc.
  • Inter-relationship of buildings / dwellings, roads, pedestrian ways, neighbourhood centre facilities and local parks and green areas – active frontages and passive surveillance will be encouraged.

15.4.2 Architectural Design Quality

Imaginative, innovative and contemporary architecture is encouraged in all development proposals, provided that it respects Dublin’s heritage and local distinctiveness and enriches the city environment. Through its design, use of materials and finishes, development will make a positive contribution to the townscape and urban realm, and to its environmental performance.

Through the use of high quality materials and finishes and the appropriate building form, the architectural quality of development should positively contribute to the urban design and streetscape, enhancing the overall quality of the urban environment. In particular, development should respond creatively to and respect and enhance its context.

The urban form and layout of a development can influence a range of factors including microclimatic impacts and visual impacts. In this regard, the layout, position and composition of buildings on a site should be considered. The layout of a development should be designed to be attractive to all users, particularly pedestrians, cyclists, people with disabilities and the elderly.

Key principles to consider are:

  • The character of both the immediately adjacent buildings, and the wider scale of development and spaces surrounding the site.
  • The existing context and the relationship to the established pattern, form(s), density and scale of surrounding townscape, taking account of existing rhythms, proportion, symmetries, solid to void relationships, degree of uniformity and the composition of elevations, roofs and building lines. The scale and pattern of existing streets, squares, lanes and spaces should be considered.
  • The existing palette of materials and finishes, architectural detailing and landscaping including walls, gates, street furniture, paving and planting.
  • The suitability of the proposed design to its intended landuse and the wider land-use character of the area, along with its relationship with and contribution to the public realm.
  • The design of new development should respect and enhance the Dublin’s natural assets such as river and canal frontages, the River Liffey and many quality open spaces that contribute positively to the cityscape and urban realm, the settings of protected structures, areas of special interest and important views and that the design incorporates high quality detail, materials and craftsmanship.
  • The need to protect and enhance natural features of the site, including trees and any landscape setting.
  • The context and orientation in relation to daylight, sunlight and overshadowing and environmental performance including climate impacts such as downdraft or wind tunnelling.
  • The main routes which should be distinguished by exploiting vistas, key buildings and landmarks with the activities and functions of the places made visible, thus bringing a sense of liveliness to spaces.
  • Landmark features which can be used to give treatment to main entrances to a development, complement open spaces and assist in place-making and identity.

15.4.3 Sustainability and Climate Action

Good design has a key role to play in both reducing waste and emissions which contribute to climate change. These issues must be considered from the outset of the design process. Development proposals will be expected to minimise energy use and emissions that contribute to climate change during the lifecycle of the development with an aspiration towards zero carbon, and ensure the reduction, re-use or recycling of resources and materials, including water, waste and aggregates. To minimise the waste embodied energy in existing structures, the re-use of existing buildings should always be considered as a first option in preference to demolition and new build. See Section 15.7 for further details on energy requirements.

Key sustainable design principles to consider are (See also Section 15.6 on Green Infrastructure):

  • Buildings should be designed to minimise resource consumption, reduce waste, conserve water, promote efficient energy use and use appropriate renewable technologies.
  • Design should optimise natural or heat recovery ventilation, minimise overshadowing and minimise glare and excessive solar gain.
  • Materials should be selected which are sustainably sourced and existing materials re-used and recycled wherever possible. The use of green building materials and low embodied energy products such as low carbon cement and recycled materials is encouraged.
  • Design should enhance biodiversity and provide for accessible open space and landscaping which enhances the ecological value of a site. Greening measures should be included such as the incorporation of green roofs and walls, planting and trees. See also policies as detailed in Chapter 10.
  • Developments should incorporate a Surface Water Management Plan in accordance with the requirements of Appendix 13 – the Council’s Surface Water Management Guidance – see policy SI25.
  • New public and private spaces must incorporate proposals for Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in their design, where appropriate, in accordance with the Council’s Guidance Document for implementing SuDS Solutions (2021). See also Appendix 12 and policy SI22 and SI23.
  • For larger schemes, consideration should be given to district heating schemes and combined heat and power (CHP) – see policy CA10, CA14, CA15, CA16, CA17 and Section 15.7.2 below.

15.4.4 Inclusivity and Accessibility

An inclusive environment is one which values diversity and difference and encompasses the needs of a wide range of user groups, as well as being sufficiently flexible and versatile to be able to adapt to diverse and changing needs and life circumstances. Development proposals, including all new large scale developments, whether they relate to new buildings, public realm works, changes of use or alterations to existing buildings, must be designed to meet the mobility needs and convenience of all, and incorporate inclusive design principles particularly for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Within new buildings and spaces, this will include consideration of issues such as provision of level circulation, lifts, doors widths, surface finishes, signs and information. The needs of occupants of different ages and stages of life should also be considered, ensuring form, construction and internal arrangement of the building will enable future adaptability. Access to the environment should also consider ways in which services and information can be provided to meet the needs of all users. All public buildings should ensure appropriate disability access, including disability car parking where feasible. The Council will support the retrofitting of public buildings where appropriate to ensure optimal accessibility.

The historic environment poses particular challenges for fully delivering all-inclusive access, however, there will almost always be scope to improve access for all without compromising the character of an existing structure of special interest – detailed advice is provided in the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities re-issued by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DAHG) in 2011. Access to the environment in this context, may not just be about physical access, but should also consider the ways in which services and information can be provided to meet the needs of all users. See also Section and

Dublin City Council will have regard to the Universal Design Guidelines for Homes in Ireland issued by the National Disability Authority and Housing Options for our Ageing Population, issued by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Health, the National Disability Authority’s Building For Everyone: A Universal Design Approach 2012 and will seek to encourage the implementation of best practice standards with regard to access in relation to both indoor and outdoor environments. Part M of the Building Regulations sets out standards to ensure that buildings are accessible and usable by everyone, including the aged, people with disabilities and people with children. The Technical Guidance Document in relation to Part M provides guidance on the access requirements for public buildings and for residential dwellings. Volume 2 of the Development Plan, under Appendix 5 Transport and Mobility: Technical Requirements, provides a list of requirements for retail and commercial planning applications.

15.4.5 Safe and Secure Design

The relationship between buildings and their adjoining spaces strongly influences the sense of personal safety and design plays a key role in ensuring that spaces are well designed and have appropriate passive surveillance. All residential developments shall refer to Design for Safety and Security’ guidance contained in the DEHLG ‘Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities – Best Practice Guidelines for Delivering Homes Sustaining Communities’ (2007).

New developments and refurbishments should be designed to promote safety and security and avoid anti-social behaviour by:

  • Maximising passive surveillance of streets, open spaces, play areas and surface parking.
  • Avoiding the creation of blank facades, dark or secluded areas or enclosed public areas.
  • Eliminating leftover pockets of land with no clear purpose.
  • Providing adequate lighting.
  • Providing a clear distinction between private and communal or public open space, including robust boundary treatment.
  • Enabling residents to watch over the entrance to their home; recessed entrances should be avoided and front doors should also be overlooked from other houses or from well-trafficked public areas.
  • Locating back gardens next to other back gardens or secure private areas rather than on to roadways or other public areas.
  • Ensuring that the layout and design of roads within residential areas encourages appropriate traffic volumes and speeds.
  • Providing clear and direct routes through the area for pedestrians and cyclists with safe edge treatment, maintaining clear sight lines at eye level and clear visibility of the route ahead.
  • Using materials in public areas which are sufficiently robust to discourage vandalism.
  • Avoiding the planting of fast-growing shrubs and trees where they would obscure lighting or pedestrian routes; shrubs should be set back from the edge of paths.
  • Consulting with An Garda Síochána crime prevention design advisor where appropriate; Dublin City Council will also have regard to the Guidelines on Joint Policing Committees as established under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended (2014), in order to ensure safe and secure communities.

On housing developments over 100 units, the Council will require the submission of a Community Safety Strategy (see policy QHSNO12) which would set out the design features incorporated to address the above measures to ensure a high level of safety and security is maintained including, overlooking, passive surveillance, street lighting and clear accessible routes.

15.5    Site Characteristics and Design Parameters

The following section provides guidance on identifying the high level characteristics which shape the urban design response to a site to ensure the creation of good quality urban environments. Development proposals should make the most efficient use of land by delivering an optimum density and scale of development for the site having regard to its location within the city.

Certain areas of the city, such as those located adjacent to high quality public transport will lend themselves to a more intensive form of development. Similarly, brownfield and infill sites can also achieve greater densities subject to the location and proximity to other services. Appendix 3 of the plan sets out guidance regarding density and building height in the city in order to achieve sustainable compact growth.

In considering the appropriateness of a development at a city scale, applicants should demonstrate that the scheme proposed has adopted an appropriate approach to urban intensification broadly consistent with its location.

The key design parameters shall be addressed as part of an Architectural Design Statement to accompany development proposals. Applicants are encouraged to utilise early iterations of the design statement in pre planning consultations with the Planning Authority.

15.5.1 Brownfield, Regeneration Sites and Large Scale Development

This section refers to the development of brownfield, regeneration and large comprehensive sites which are of sufficient scale to differentiate them from the surrounding townscape.

Brownfield sites are generally referred to as previously developed lands that are not currently in use. Quite often these brownfield sites are located in areas in need of regeneration. These sites often contain derelict or vacant buildings which are underutilised and in need of redevelopment. Brownfield lands have the ability to regenerate and rejuvenate large portions of the city through redevelopment.

Dublin City Council will seek to ensure the following considerations are incorporated in proposals for large-scale, regeneration and brownfield development:

  • To encourage innovative, high quality urban design and architectural detail in all new development proposals.
  • To analyse and review the surrounding built environment to ensure the new development is consistent with the character of the area.
  • To respect and enhance existing natural features of interest.
  • To contribute to the streetscape creating active and vibrant public realm.
  • To create animation and create activity at street level and vertically throughout the building.
  • To provide for appropriate materials and finishes in the context of the surrounding buildings.
  • To ensure land contamination is appropriately dealt with and mitigated against.
  • To provide high-quality new streets and open spaces connecting into the surrounding street pattern/ open space network.
  • To create new compositions and points of interest.
  • To provide an appropriate mix of uses comprising retail, residential, recreational, cultural, community- and/or employment generating uses to improve the existing range of uses and facilities in the area.
  • To carefully integrate appropriate landscape planting and trees and retain and ecological features on the site.
  • To prioritise pedestrian and cycle movements in connection with public transport infrastructure.
  • To retain existing and create new features to make an easily navigational urban environment, including active building frontages with clearly defined edges and safe public routes.
  • To build in capacity to incorporate services to meet changing demands including pipe subways and infrastructure to allow future connection to district energy networks.
  • Ensure waste management facilities, servicing and parking are sited and designed sensitively to minimise their visual impact and avoid any adverse impacts on users of highways in the surrounding neighbourhood.

15.5.2 Infill Development

Infill development refers to lands between or to the rear of existing buildings capable of being redeveloped i.e. gap sites within existing areas of established urban form. Infill sites are an integral part of the city’s development due to the historic layout of streets and buildings.

Infill development should complement the existing streetscape, providing for a new urban design quality to the area. It is particularly important that proposed infill development respects and enhances its context and is well integrated with its surroundings, ensuring a more coherent cityscape.

As such Dublin City Council will require infill development:

  • To respect and complement the prevailing scale, mass and architectural design in the surrounding townscape.
  • To demonstrate a positive response to the existing context, including characteristic building plot widths, architectural form and the materials and detailing of existing buildings, where these contribute positively to the character and appearance of the area.
  • Within terraces or groups of buildings of unified design and significant quality, infill development will positively interpret the existing design and architectural features where these make a positive contribution to the area.
  • In areas of low quality, varied townscape, infill development will have sufficient independence of form and design to create new compositions and points of interest.
  • Ensure waste management facilities, servicing and parking are sited and designed sensitively to minimise their visual impact and avoid any adverse impacts in the surrounding neighbourhood.

15.5.3 Alterations, Extensions and Retrofitting of Existing Non – Domestic Buildings

In Dublin city centre, the form and grain of the built environment leads to substantial pressure for extensions and alterations to existing buildings. Works of alteration and extension should be integrated with the surrounding area, ensuring that the quality of the townscape character of buildings and areas is retained and enhanced and environmental performance and accessibility of the existing building stock improved.

The retrofitting of sustainability measures to existing buildings, and extensions and adoption to new uses is of crucial importance, as this will always represent a much greater proportion of the building stock than new buildings. Retrofitting seeks to ensure that all new development considers how environmental performance can be improved; this may include measures to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency and incorporate renewable technologies as well as improving water efficiency and minimising waste, wherever possible.

Dublin City Council will seek to ensure that alterations and extensions will be sensitively designed and detailed to respect the character of the existing building, its context and the amenity of adjoining occupiers. In particular, alterations and extensions should:

  • Respect any existing uniformity of the street, together with significant patterns, rhythms or groupings of buildings.
  • Not result in the loss of, obscure, or otherwise detract from, architectural features which contribute to the quality of the existing building.
  • Retain characteristic townscape spaces or gaps between buildings.
  • Not involve the infilling, enclosure or harmful alteration of front lightwells.
  • Incorporate a high standard of thermal performance and appropriate sustainable design features.


In addition to the above, alterations and extensions at roof level, including roof terraces and set back floors, are to respect the scale, elevational proportions and architectural form of the building. Key considerations include:

  • New development will respect terraces or groups of buildings with a consistent roofline.
  • Development will not result in the loss of roof forms, roof coverings or roof features (such as chimney stacks) where these are of historic interest or contribute to local character and distinctiveness.
  • Green roofs should be incorporated wherever they accord with the above, are structurally viable and have no adverse impact on historic structures – see Appendix 11.
  • Minor external additions to buildings such as plant, telecommunications and other equipment and associated cables and fixings shall be concealed within the building envelope where feasible or designed and sited to minimise their visual impact. All redundant equipment should be removed prior to installation of new equipment.

15.5.4 Height

Appendix 3 identifies the height strategy for the city and the criteria in which all higher buildings should be assessed.

15.5.5 Density

Dublin City Council will support higher density development in appropriate urban locations in accordance with the NPF, RSES and the Section 28 Guidelines which seek to consolidate development within exiting urban areas. Higher density development allows land to be used more efficiently, assists in regeneration and minimises urban expansion. Higher densities maintain the vitality and viability of local services and provide for the critical mass for successful functionality of public transport facilities.

New development should achieve a density that is appropriate to the site conditions and surrounding neighbourhood. The density of a proposal should respect the existing character, context and urban form of an area and seek to protect existing and future amenity. An urban design and quality-led approach to creating urban densities will be promoted, where the focus will be on creating sustainable urban villages and neighbourhoods.

All proposals for higher densities must demonstrate how the proposal contributes to place-making and the identity of an area, as well as the provision of community facilities and/or social infrastructure to facilitate the creation of sustainable neighbourhoods. Refer to Appendix 3 for further details.

15.5.6 Plot Ratio and Site Coverage

See Appendix 3 for further detail.

15.5.7 Materials and Finishes

The materials and finishes of a building have the ability to shape the architectural design quality and distinctiveness of an area. Materials and finishes should be selected to ensure longevity throughout the lifetime of the development. All developments will be required to include details on the maintenance and management of the materials proposed as part of the planning application. As such, Dublin City Council will require developments:

  • To ensure materials and finishes complement the existing pallet of materials in the surrounding area.
  • Promote durability to ensure a good visual appearance over time.
  • The design and layout of buildings, together with the robustness of materials used in their construction, should be such as to discourage graffiti, vandalism and other forms of anti-social activity.
  • To support the use of structural materials that have low to zero embodied energy and CO2 emissions as well as the use of sustainably sourced building materials and the reuse of demolition and excavated materials.

15.5.8 Architectural Design Statements

Applications 30+ residential units should be accompanied by an Architectural Design Statement or any application below the threshold where the planning authority consider it necessary. Statements may also be required for large scale commercial development. An Architectural Design Statement is an informative, illustrative document that clearly describes the development proposal, the context in which the development is set and the design rationale for the scheme. Design statements should analyse the site context, planning context, opportunities and constraints of the site and the conceptual and detailed design of the development including the building massing, material and finishes and building articulation, (see also Policy SC23).

Design Statements should include the following information as set out in the table below which build upon the detail of the key design parameters.

Table 15-2:      Information Requirements for Design Statements

Residential Developments

Site Location and Description

Context and Setting

Urban Design Rationale

Design Evolution / Alternatives Considered

Block Layout and Design

Site Connectivity and Permeability

Height, Scale and Massing

Materials and Finishes

Open Space (Private, Communal, Public)

Public Realm Contribution

Compliance with Internal Design Standards

Daylight and Sunlight

Overlooking, Overbearing, Overshadowing

Car and Cycle Parking

Management/Lifecycle Report

Compliance with DMURS

Safety and Security

Universal Access

15.5.9 Models and Photomontages

In the case of certain large or complex planning proposals, models and photomontages of a proposed scheme to an appropriate scale will be required by the planning authority. All photo-montages submitted with a planning application or Environmental Impact Statement must include details of the type of camera and the lens used to create the image. The development should be clearly depicted. The inclusion of excessive sunshine, blue sky and any other detailing or colouring which may distort the reliability of the photomontages should be avoided.

15.6    Green Infrastructure and Landscaping

This section sets out the requirements in relation to the assessment and incorporation of biodiversity, green infrastructure and landscaping into development proposals. See also Chapter 10 and Draft Dublin City Biodiversity Action Plan 2021 – 2025.

Planning applications will be required to address climate action as part of the overall design of the development and incorporate green infrastructure techniques. All new developments in the city are encouraged to incorporate an ecosystem services approach as a key instrument in achieving sustainable climate change action in accordance with Policy GI5 and GI6.

The proposal should indicate how existing natural features of the site will inform sustainable urban form and should include the following:

  • Analysis of the potential for the retention and integration of existing natural features, such as watercourses, mature planting and topography; this approach, in accordance with the National Landscape Strategy 2015–2025, ensures the landscape character of the area is retained and informs the proposed design.
  • The connectivity of proposed open spaces to adjoining existing open space or natural assets should also be considered with reference to the city’s green infrastructure in this development plan (Chapter 10) and any relevant local area plan(s); for sites which provide or adjoin habitats for species designated under the European Union Habitats Directive, Article 10 of the directive shall apply in regard to the need to provide connectivity and ‘stepping stones’ to ensure biodiversity protection.
  • Potential applicants should refer to the Draft Dublin City Biodiversity Action Plan 2021 – 2025 or subsequent plans and consult the City Council’s Parks, Biodiversity and Landscape Services Division to ascertain the significance of any ecologically sensitive areas which it may be appropriate to retain or integrate into a landscape plan. In such cases, the ecological attributes of the site and the impact of any development should be considered prior to final design.

15.6.1 Green Infrastructure

To support the green infrastructure network, any proposed development for sites which adjoin either core areas or any buffering parks and open spaces shall include an assessment of impacts on biodiversity and make provision for enhancement of ecological features.

The following measures to strengthen the city green infrastructure (GI) network plan will be required.

  • Increase habitat protection to support the wider GI network.
  • Provide additional green space to meet deficiencies in connectivity of the GI network.
  • Ensure retention of mature habitats and provide for long-term ecological succession.
  • Increase connections and improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists to the wider GI network.
  • The use of drainage systems (SuDs) and soft/ nature-based engineering solutions for surface water management to control the rate of run-off, protect water quality and mitigate the environmental impacts of flooding and erosion.
  • Provide for public access to ensure that the benefits of access to the GI network is available to all citizens.
  • Ensure that proposed developments do not create negative impacts on the existing GI network.

15.6.2 Surface Water Management and SuDs

All new developments will be required to prepare a Surface Water Management Plan in accordance with the requirements of the Council’s Surface Water Management Guidance (see Appendix 13.)

All new developments will also be required to utilise SuDS measures in accordance with Policy SI22 of the development plan. The SuDS measures shall be set out clearly in an assessment of the drainage details prepared by a qualified Engineer. Appendix 12 sets out further detail regarding SuDS and should be consulted by all applicants.

15.6.3 Green / Blue Roofs

Dublin City Council will require all new development projects over 100 sq. metres to provide green roofs to assist in climate action and urban drainage in accordance with Policy SI23. Refer to Appendix 11 for further details.

15.6.4 Green Wall / Living Wall

Green walls or living walls are self-sustaining vertical gardens that are attached to the exterior or interior of a building. Where possible, larger schemes shall consider the use of green walls to improve the environment, absorb and filter stormwater, reduce pollution, mitigate any potential heat island effect and decrease carbon emissions. It shall be the policy of Dublin City Council that the installation of living green walls should be encouraged to the fullest possible extent throughout the city of Dublin.

15.6.5 Urban Greening

All applications for large scale development will be encouraged to facilitate urban greening through the provision of tree planting, pocket parks, green roofs, green walls etc. The provision of urban greening methods improves the overall quality of the environment and enhances the well-being in accordance with policy CA28.

15.6.6 Sensitive Ecological Areas

Sensitive ecological areas can include protected areas such as SPA’s, SAC’s and NHA’s as well as areas with significant tree cover and vegetation capable of facilitating habitats, or any other landscaped area with quality natural environment or sensitive natural features. Regard to such areas must be made in any development proposal.

Where a proposed development adjoins a sensitive ecological area such as a river or canal bank, the area adjacent to the waterway should be retained as a riparian corridor with linkages into the wider open space network. The maintenance of natural river banks shall be required, without physical or visual encroachment on watercourses. See also policy SI10.

The width of any linear park adjacent to a waterway should take into account the natural topography, existing layout and amenity potential with due allowance for riparian corridors and flood risk. In all cases, any existing blockages to permeability, such as boundaries or redundant buildings, should be resolved where possible. See Chapter 9, Section 9.5.2 and also policies SI10, SI11 and SI12, and objectives SIO7 and SIO8 on River Restoration.

Full public access to lands along waterways which are in private ownership as part of any development proposal should be provided unless exceptional circumstances prevail.

All of the main rivers in Dublin city have salmonid populations. Therefore, applicants should also demonstrate legal compliance to protect the watercourses and fisheries from soil, silt or other material during construction and in this regard should liaise with Inland Fisheries Ireland. As many protected species inhabit Dublin’s rivers, applicants should consult with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to inquire as to any consent procedures required for proposed works and to ensure that design layouts do not cause habitat loss. In the case of proposals adjacent to a canal, appropriate space should be retained for wildlife and it should also be ensured that wildlife have appropriate access to the water.

Applicants should consult the Draft Dublin City Council Biodiversity Action Plan 2021-2025 and the Dublin City Canals Plan (Waterways Ireland in conjunction with Dublin City Council, Fáilte Ireland and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority) to ascertain the implications of these plans for any such site. Regard should also be had to Planning for Watercourses in the Urban Environment Guidance (2020) produced by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

15.6.7 Landscape Design Rationale

Landscaping in the urban environment can have multiple advantages for citizens and can enhance quality of life. As well as providing an attractive visual context and contributing to the healthy placemaking of an area, landscaping can improve sustainability and resilience by assisting with surface water management and biodiversity.

Landscape design and maintenance plans will be regarded as an integral part of all development applications. The incorporation of landscape features to protect and support biodiversity and to ensure the existing landscaping and environments are protected will be required as part of all applications. Landscaping schemes must be in accordance with Dublin City Council standards for road and footpath layout, and there will be a preference for soft landscaping, where possible.

It will be a requirement of planning permission that all planting takes place in the first planting and seeding seasons following occupation of the building or completion of the development, whichever is the sooner, and that any trees or plants which, within a period of 5 years from the completion of the development, die, are removed, and that any which become seriously damaged or diseased are replaced in the next planting season.

All landscaping works associated with a development will be required to be complete prior to the occupation of the development. This will be a condition attached to relevant planning decisions.

Further information can be obtained in the document ‘Guidelines for Open Space Development and Taking in Charge’ (2009).

Hard landscaping, including paving and street furniture, is an important element in defining the character of the spaces between buildings and public open spaces. Hard landscaping works can help to provide visual links, define and enclose space, and delineate public from private space. They can provide security to private areas, play space for children, and also areas for sitting and relaxing. Hard landscaping can also help distinguish between areas for different transport modes.

Materials must be appropriate, durable and of a good quality. Careful consideration must be given to the design of hard-surfaced areas including streets, squares, open spaces, paved areas, footpaths and driveways. The texture and colour of materials must be sympathetic to the locality and be an integral part of the design. Areas of schemes to be taken in charge by Dublin City should be designed with reference to the palette of materials used by the Local Authority to ensure later maintenance and replacement of materials in the upkeep of the area by the Local Authority. See also Appendix 5, Section 8.2 and 8.3.

Applications for substantial hard-surfaced areas must demonstrate methods of controlling and limiting surface water run-off consistent with sustainable development (see also Appendix 12 and 13).

15.6.8 Landscape Plans and Design Reports

Applications for 1,000+ sq. m. of commercial development or 30+ residential units, or other applications where the planning authority consider it necessary should be accompanied by a landscape design report. A Landscape Design Report sets out the landscape strategy for the scheme through the use of drawings, illustrations and species specification documents. A landscape report should describe the public open space and communal open space provided within a scheme to demonstrate compliance with the relevant guidelines. Boundary treatments and public realm improvements should also be illustrated within landscape plans.

On sites with extensive vegetation and tree coverage, a separate tree report should also be incorporated into the landscape design report to support the retention of trees where possible. Landscape proposals should also take account of the biodiversity and environmental habitats present on the site and within the surrounding area and set out proposals to enhance and protect these features (see Sections 15.6.6, 15.6.9 and 15.6.10 for further details).

Landscape design reports should address the following:

  • The protection and incorporation of existing tress and landscape features worthy of retention.
  • The contribution of the proposed development to the landscape character and setting and open space amenity of the area.
  • The value of ecological corridors and habitats surrounding the proposed development and the potential impact on these areas.
  • The relationship between existing green corridors, public open spaces or area of high ecological values.
  • The detail and specifications for materials, finishes and maintenance details.
  • The integration of sustainable urban drainage systems such that landscaping plans may include associated biodiversity areas or wetlands which can reduce surface water run-off – see Appendix 12 and 13.
  • The hierarchy of different types of planting throughout the development in order to give visual variety. Green roofs, walls and permeable surfaces will be encouraged and required in certain instances (see Chapter 10 and Appendix 11).
  • The details of ecosystems services and biodiversity including pollinator friendly approach.
  • The maintenance and management strategy for the landscaped features.

15.6.9 Trees and Hedgerows

Trees and hedgerows add a sense of character, maturity and provide valuable screening, shelter and privacy and will often have a useful life expectancy beyond the life of new buildings. Dublin City Council will seek to protect existing trees and hedgerows when granting planning permission for developments and will seek to ensure maximum retention, preservation and management of important trees, groups of trees, and hedges as set out in Section 10.5.7 of the plan.

The Dublin City Tree Strategy 2021 provides the vision and direction for long term planning, planting, protection and maintenance of trees, hedgerows and woodlands within Dublin city. The Ancient and Species Rich Hedgerow Survey of Dublin City as detailed in Policy GI43 also provides a description and assessment of the hedgerows within the city and can be used to identify key lines of hedging.

Dublin City Council will encourage and promote tree planting in the planning and design of private and public developments. New tree planting should be planned, designed, sourced, planted and managed in accordance with ‘BS 8545:2014 Trees: from nursery to independence in the landscape – Recommendations’. New planting proposals should take account of the context within which a tree is to be planted and plant appropriate tree species for the location.

A tree survey must be submitted where there are trees within a proposed planning application site, or on land adjacent to an application site that could influence or be affected by the development. Information will be required on which trees are to be retained and on the means of protecting these trees during construction works. Where development is proposed, it is essential that existing trees are considered from the very earliest stages of design and prior to an application for planning permission being submitted. Root systems, stems and canopies, with allowance for future movement and growth, need to be taken into account in all projects.

The following criteria shall be taken into account by Dublin City Council in assessing planning applications on sites where there are significant individual trees or groups/ lines of trees, in order to inform decisions either to protect and integrate trees into the scheme, or to permit their removal:

  • Habitat/ecological value of the trees and their condition.
  • Uniqueness/rarity of species.
  • Contribution to any historical setting/ conservation area.
  • Significance of the trees in framing or defining views.
  • Visual and amenity contribution to streetscape.

15.6.10         Tree Removal

Where a proposal impacts on trees within the public realm, a revised design will need to be considered to avoid conflicts with street trees. Where a conflict is unavoidable and where a tree, located on-street, requires removal to facilitate a new development or widened vehicular entrance and cannot be conveniently relocated within the public domain, then when agreed by Parks Services and the Planning Department by way of condition to a grant of permission, a financial contribution will be required in lieu. The financial contribution is calculated by the Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees (CAVAT) by an Arboriculturist. The payment is required to be lodged with Dublin City Council before the tree can be removed.

15.6.11         Financial Securities

Where trees and hedgerows are to be retained, the Council will require a developer to lodge a financial security to cover any damage caused to them either accidentally or otherwise as a result of non-compliance with agreed/specified on-site tree-protection measures. Types of securities include a cash deposit, an insurance bond or such other liquid asset as may be agreed between a developer and the planning authority. The security will be returned on completion of the development once it is established that the trees/hedgerows are in a satisfactory condition and have not been unnecessarily damaged by development works. Where damage occurs, the sum deducted from the tree security (or bond/other financial security) will be calculated in accordance with a recognised tree valuation system (e.g. Helliwell, CAVAT).

15.6.12         Public Open Space and Recreation

Public open space should be of high quality landscaped design to provide for an amenity value. Public open space should utilise a combination of hard and soft landscaping to cater for a wide range of needs such as children’s play, passive recreation and sporting facilities. Where adjacent to canals or rivers, proposals must take into account the functions of a riparian corridor and possible flood plain, see Section 10.5.5 Rivers and Canals and Section 9.5.2 on River Restoration.

All applications which include areas of open space should refer to the Dublin City Council Parks Strategy 2017-2022 or any further iteration for guidance on the design and aspirations for city parks. Planning applications including any open space area (public or communal) should incorporate green infrastructure strategies including SuDs, flood management, biodiversity, outdoor recreation, connection and carbon absorption in accordance with Policy GI24 of the plan. See Section 10.5.4 and 15.8.6 for further details.

In areas with a deficit of public open space in the city centre, SuDS proposals will be supported where it can be demonstrated that they have positive recreational and biodiversity functions. Any SuDS proposal that would negatively impinge on the conservation objectives of a historic park will not be supported.

The planning authority will seek the provision of public open space in all residential schemes (see Section 15.8.6) and commercial developments in excess of 5,000 sq. m.

Dublin City Council will seek the following in the delivery of public open space:

  • The design and layout of the open space should complement the layout of the surrounding built environment and complement the site layout.
  • Open space should be overlooked and designed to ensure passive surveillance is achieved.
  • The space should be visible from and accessible to the maximum number of users.
  • Inaccessible or narrow unusable spaces will not be accepted.
  • The level of daylight and sunlight received within the space shall be in accordance with the BRE Guidelines or any other supplementary guidance document – see Appendix 16.
  • Any new public open space on the site should be contiguous to existing open space or natural feature (i.e. river corridors and canal bank) to encourage visual continuity and optimise value of ecological networks.
  • Protect and incorporate existing trees that are worthy of retention into the design of new open spaces.
  • Retain and incorporate other existing natural features into the design to reinforce local identity, landscape character, and amenity.
  • Landscaping works should be integrated with overall surface water management and SuDS strategy such that landscaping plans may include associated biodiversity areas or wetlands which can reduce / better manage surface water run-off.
  • Landscaping schemes should provide a hierarchy of different types of planting throughout the development in order to give visual variety. Permeable surfaces will be encouraged (see Appendix 12).
  • Materials must be appropriate, durable and of a good quality. The texture and colour of materials must be sympathetic to the locality and be an integral part of the design.
  • Street furniture should be sited such that it does not provide an obstacle for people with disabilities and should be designed so that it is fully accessible where feasible.
  • Age friendly measures should be incorporated into the design.
  • Permeability and accessibility for all users, particularly disabled persons should be provided.
  • Cycle and pedestrian friendly routes should be accommodated.

15.6.13         Boundary Treatments

Walls, fences, metal railings and gates used to define spaces and their usage all impact on the visual character and the quality of a development. These should be selected so as to be an integrated part of overall design.

Details of all existing and proposed boundary treatments, including vehicular entrance details, should be submitted as part of any planning application. These shall include details in relation to proposed materials, finishes, and, in the case of planted boundaries, details in respect of species together with a planting schedule. In all instances, boundary treatments shall be of high quality, durable and attractive.

15.7    Climate Action

Chapter 3 sets out the policies and objectives for climate action in the city. Dublin City Council will encourage the use of sustainable development principles to combat climate impacts in line with the Dublin City Climate Action Plan (2019- 2024) or as amended.

To mitigate against negative climatic impacts, all new developments will be required to demonstrate compliance with the climate action principles set out in Chapter 3 and as detailed below.

15.7.1 Re-use of Existing Buildings

Where development proposal comprises of existing buildings on the site, applicants are encouraged to reuse and repurpose the buildings for integration within the scheme, where possible in accordance with Policy CA5, CA6 and CA7. Where demolition is proposed, the applicant must submit a demolition justification report to set out the rational for the demolition having regard to the ‘embodied carbon’ of existing structures as well as the additional use of resources and energy arising from new construction relative to the reuse of existing structures.

Existing building materials should be incorporated and utilised in the new design proposals where feasible and a clear strategy for the reuse and disposal of the materials should be included where demolition is proposed.

15.7.2 District Heating

District heating is a system for distributing heat generated in a centralised location for residential and commercial heating requirements such as space heating and water heating.

District heating systems will be supported in areas identified in Chapter 3: Climate Action. In these areas, all applications should be designed to cater for district heating systems. The details of the heating system proposed and compatibility with the district heating network should be specified in all planning applications. Applicants are requested to submit a Climate Action and Energy Statement with all planning applications in this zone – see below.

Where district heating systems are not yet in operation, the applicant is required to demonstrate how the proposed heating system of the development can connect and facilitate future use of the district heating system once in place, see policy CA14, CA15, CA16 and CA17 for further information.

15.7.3 Climate Action and Energy Statement

In order to comply with the policies set out in Section 3.5.2 ‘The Built Environment’ and Section 3.5.3 ‘Energy’ of Chapter 3, proposals for all new developments in excess of 30 or more residential units or 1,000 sq. m. or more of commercial floor space, or as or as otherwise required by the Planning Authority, will be required to include a Climate Action Energy Statement.

The purpose of this statement is to demonstrate how low carbon energy and heating solutions have been considered as part of the overall design and planning of the proposed development. Having regard to the above, the statement, which shall be prepared by a certified engineer, shall address:

  • the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of on-site renewable energy generation including solar PV and small scale wind power;
  • the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of at a minimum, the following high-efficiency alternative energy supply and heating systems:
    • decentralised energy supply systems based on energy from renewable and waste heat sources;
    • co-generation (combined heat and power);
    • district or block heating or cooling, particularly where it is based entirely or partially on energy from renewable and waste heat sources;
    • heat pumps.        ‘District Heating Enabled’ Development

In addition to the requirements set out above, Climate Action Energy Statements for significant new residential and commercial developments, in Strategic Development and Regeneration Areas (SDRAs), will be required to investigate local heat sources and networks, and, where feasible, to demonstrate that the proposed development will be ‘District Heating Enabled’ in order to facilitate a connection to an available or developing district heating network.

Any such investigation should have regard to the heat demand density of the area in which the proposed development is located, as shown in the heat demand density map included as Figure 15.1 below. This map which was produced by Codema, and is included here for information purposes only, shows the overall heat demand density in each CSO electoral district in the Dublin City area.


Figure 15.1:     Heat Demand Density Map

Figure 15.1

Where it is not feasible for a development to be district heat enabled, the statement must provide a clear explanation as to why this is would not be the case, and must also demonstrate that the proposed development offers a similarly efficient and low carbon energy and heating solution.

For the avoidance of doubt, for a development to be ‘District Heating Enabled’, it should incorporate an efficient, low carbon building heat network, and/or a block communal heating network, in order to facilitate a future connection to a district heating network, without the need for significant additional retrofitting. To this end, ‘District Heating Enabled’ development should provide for:

  • an efficient, centralised, wet-based heat network within the building or within the area of the development as a whole (as appropriate);
  • the allocation of sufficient space in plant rooms to accommodate suitable district heating equipment, such as heat exchangers etc.;
  • the provision and safeguarding of suitable pipe routes throughout the building and complex;
  • the provision and safeguarding of suitable district heating network connection routes at and beyond the site boundary[1].

In addition to this overall requirement for SDRAs, additional requirements exist for significant development proposals in specific areas as follows:

  • SDRA 6 (Docklands) and 10 (North East Inner City): The Climate Action Energy Statement must demonstrate how the proposed development is District Heating Enabled and will connect to the ‘Docklands and Poolbeg’ DDHS catchment.
  • SDRA 7 (Heuston and Environs), SDRA 8 (Grangegorman/Broadstone ) SDRA 11 (St. Theresa’s Garden and Environs), SDRA12 (Dolphin House) SDRA 14 (St. James Medical Campus & Environs SDRA 15 (Liberties and Newmarket Square): The Climate Action Energy Statement will be required to investigate possible connections or interconnections to existing heat networks in these areas, to ultimately create a district heating ‘node’.

Where a proposed development will be ‘District Heating Enabled’, the Climate Action Energy Statement will provide the information requested in the following table:


Table 15-3:      Information Requirements for District Heating Enabled Developments

Heat Demand Information

Required Peak Heat Demand (kW)

Estimated Annual Heat Consumption (MWh pa)

Estimated Seasonal Base Load (kW)

Gross Floor Area m2

Heat Demand per m2 GFA (w/M2)

Heat Consumption per m2 GFA (kWh/m2)

Number of Residential Dwellings

Number of Boilers and their heat outputs

Secondary Side Design Conditions

Flow Temperature (max at peak) 0C

Flow Temperature (min in Summer) 0C

Return Temperature 0C

Maximum Design Working Pressure, bar G

Pressure Drop Through Heat Exchange, Kpa

Plant Room Details

Number of Heat Exchangers Proposed

Size of Skids (LxWxH),m

Size of Plant Room (LxWxH),m

Location of Plant Room (attach sketch)

Access Details (attach sketch)

Other Comments

15.8    Residential Development

New residential development in the city mainly comprises of apartment schemes with some limited residential housing schemes. This section sets out the general requirements for residential development followed by more specific guidance for apartments, Build to Rent, student accommodation and houses.

While the minimum standards set within these sections will be sought in relation to refurbishment schemes, it is acknowledged that this may not always be possible, particularly in relation to historic buildings, ‘living over the shop’ projects, tight urban infill developments and in the city regeneration area designated under the Living City Initiative. In such cases, the standards may be relaxed subject to the provision of good quality accommodation, and where the proposal secures the effective usage of underutilised accommodation. It must be satisfactorily demonstrated that the internal design and overall layout is closely aligned to the specific needs of the intended occupiers.

15.8.1 Quality/Making Sustainable Neighbourhoods

As outlined in Chapter 5: Quality Housing and Sustainable Neighbourhoods’, it is an aim of Dublin City Council to encourage and foster living at sustainable urban densities through the creation of attractive sustainable neighbourhoods which promote and facilitate the provision of the 15-minute city through healthy placemaking and the delivery of high quality housing served by local services. Section 5.5.3 of the plan sets out guidance in relation to the essential requirements for sustainable communities including healthy placemaking and the 15 minute city.

Proposals should have regard to the following guidelines in the making of sustainable neighbourhoods, as well as the principles and key characteristics of a good neighbourhood including ‘Sustainable Residential Developments in Urban Areas: Guidelines for Planning Authorities’ (2009) and accompanying ‘Urban Design Manual (2010)’, the Local Area Plans - Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2013), the NTA Permeability Best Practice Guide (2015), the Sustainable Urban Housing Guidelines (2018) and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (2019).

This section sets out guidance on qualitative, quantitative, and development management criteria for sustainable neighbourhood infrastructure and residential developments.

15.8.2 Community and Social Audit

Community facilities, such as local parks and playgrounds, community centres, local hubs, schools, childcare are an integral component of a successful neighbourhood. Applications for large residential developments or mixed use developments should include provision for community type uses. All residential applications comprising of 50 or more units shall include a community and social audit to assess the provision of community facilities and infrastructure within the vicinity of the site and identify whether there is a need to provide additional facilities to cater for the proposed development. Each of the subsections below shall be assessed as part of the community and social audit.

A community and social audit should address the following:

  • Identify the existing community and social provision in the surrounding area covering a 750m radius.
  • Assess the overall need in terms of necessity, deficiency, and opportunities to share/ enhance existing facilities based on current and proposed population projections.
  • Justify the inclusion or exclusion of a community facility as part of the proposed development having regard to the findings of the audit.

Where it is determined that new facilities are required the following design criteria should be considered:

  • The design of the facility should allow for multi-functional use.
  • Community facilities must be located so that they are conveniently accessible by both residents and others who may have reason to use the facility.
  • Community facilities should be well integrated with pedestrian and cycle routes and, where they serve a wider community, located on or close to a quality public transport route.
  • Re-development proposals on sites containing a pre-existing community use / and / or recreational use should ensure that this use in terms of floor / ground space is no less than that on-site prior to redevelopment, and if possible, should represent increased provision.
  • Community facilities must be accessible to all members of society including persons with disabilities and the elderly.

15.8.3 Schools

In accordance with the requirements for social and community audit, planning applications for over 50 dwellings shall be accompanied by a report identifying the demand for school places likely to be generated and the capacity of existing schools in the vicinity to cater for such demand. In the case of very large-scale developments (800+ units), the phased completion of the dwellings must be linked with the provision of new schools. In determining an application for a school, the following shall be considered:

  • Compliance with the Department of Education and the Department of Environment, Heritage, Community and Local Government’s Joint Code of Practice.
  • Compliance with current Department of Education Technical Guidance documents available at:
  • Compliance with Department of Education and Skills “Education for Sustainability” The National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development in Ireland, 2014-2020 and any successor document.
  • Ensure that school sites are fit-for purpose in terms of their location, access to services and the provision of space for recreational and sports activities which can help to support an effective learning and development environment for children.
  • Seek to situate new schools within the existing/proposed catchment in a manner that aids ease of access from surrounding areas and encourages sustainable mobility by walking, cycling and public transport.
  • Consider the use of multi-campus schooling arrangements in appropriate cases, e.g. 2 or 3 schools side-by-side; a primary and a post-primary school sharing a site; with schools anchoring wider social and community facilities required in the same area.
  • Ensure provision of appropriate external hard and soft play areas. Roof level amenity space may be considered on tight, urban constrained sites. However, proposals should also endeavour to provide appropriate ground level, accessible amenity spaces.
  • Promote urban typologies for new schools which achieve an efficient use of scarce urban land and successfully address the streetscape or surrounding context.

15.8.4 Childcare

Dublin City Council seeks to ensure that an adequate number of childcare facilities are provided to serve the city’s growing population. In order to meet this objective, one childcare facility (equivalent to a minimum of 20 child spaces) for every 75 dwellings units, shall be provided in all new mixed use and residential schemes.

As part of the community and social audit, an assessment of the childcare facilities in the surrounding 1km radius of the proposed should be included. The analysis should have regard to:

  • The make-up of the proposed residential area, i.e. an estimate of the mix of community that the housing area seeks to accommodate (if an assumption is made that 50 % approximately of the housing area will require childcare, how does the proposal contribute to the existing demand in the area).
  • The number of childcare facilities within walking distance (i.e. 1km) of the proposal.
  • The capacity of each childcare facility and the available capacity by completion of the project.
  • The results of any childcare needs analysis carried out as part of the city childcare strategy or carried out as part of a local or area action plan or as part of the development plan in consultation with the city childcare committees, which will have identified areas already well served or alternatively, gap areas where there is under provision, will also contribute to refining the base figure.

Childcare facilities should also be located in existing residential areas, business/technology parks, industrial estates, areas of employment and within office blocks, with such provision being established having regard to the Dublin City Childcare Committee audit and needs analysis (for full details, see Childcare Facilities, Guidelines for Planning Authorities 2001).        Design Criteria

All childcare facilities are required to provide private outdoor play space or demonstrate safe and easy access to a safe outdoor play area. Such outdoor space should be appropriately sites to be protected from air pollution – see objective QHSNO16.

The internal design, layout and size of the childcare facility shall be in accordance with the standards set out in the Childcare Facilities, Guidelines for Planning Authorities 2001.

Safe and secure access should also be provided in terms of pedestrian and cycle movements in association with public transport services in the area. Associated vehicular drop off will also be required in certain locations. This should be accompanied by a traffic and transport assessment which sets out the need to accommodate vehicular movements.

15.8.5 Public Realm

All residential developments that include lands within the public realm must agree, subject to a letter of consent, with the planning authority that the proposed scheme is compliant with the public realm guidance as set out on the Dublin City Council website.

Details of road widths, public footpaths and accessibility can be found in Appendix 5 of the plan.

Where new public spaces that will contribute to the public realm of an area are proposed, applicants must demonstrate that such spaces provide accessibility to all, are easy to navigate and create safe and secure environments. Please see guidance on street furniture, public lighting and accessibility in this regard as set out in Section 15.17.

15.8.6 Public Open Space

Public open space is an external landscaped open space which makes a contribution to the public domain and is accessible to the public and local community for the purposes of active and passive recreation, including relaxation and children’s play. Public open space also provides for visual breaks between and within residential areas and facilitates biodiversity and the maintenance of wildlife habitats.

All residential development is required to provide for public open space. Regard should be had to the guidance set out in Section 15.6.12 above regarding landscaping requirements, and also Section 15.6 on Green Infrastructure.

The public open space requirement for residential developments shall be 10% of the overall site area as public open space.

In the case of residential developments on Z12 and Z15 zoned lands, additional open space is required in order to retain the existing open character of the lands. A total of 25% public open space will be required within these zones.

Table 15-4:      Public Open Space Requirements for Residential Development

Landuse / Zoning

Requirement (minimum)

Residential development (Z1, Z2, Z3, Z4, Z5, Z6, Z8, Z10, Z14)


Residential development (Z12) (Z15)


15.8.7 Financial Contributions in Lieu of Open Space

Public open space will normally be located on-site, however, in some instances it may be more appropriate to seek a financial contribution towards its provision elsewhere in the vicinity. This would include cases where it is not feasible, due to site constraints or other factors, to locate the open space on site, or where it is considered that, having regard to existing provision in the vicinity, the needs of the population would be better served by the provision of a new park in the area (e.g. a neighbourhood park or pocket park) or the upgrading of an existing park.

In these cases, financial contributions may be proposed towards the provision and enhancement of open space and landscape in the locality, as set out in the City Council Parks Programme, in fulfilment of this objective.

Financial contributions in lieu of public open space will only be applicable in schemes of 9 or more units. The details on the value of the contribution in lieu and other exemptions are set out in the Dublin City Section 48 Development Contribution Scheme and any future amendments thereof.

15.8.8 Play Infrastructure

Applications which include the provision of public open space shall be subject to a requirement to provide for appropriate playground facilities. In schemes of 25 or more units, small play spaces of 85-100 sq. m. are considered suitable for toddlers and children up to the age of six, with suitable play equipment, seating for parents/ guardians, and within sight of the apartment building. For larger schemes of 100 or more apartments, play areas of 200-400 sq. m for older children and young teenagers should also be provided in addition.

The Draft Dublin City Play Strategy ‘Pollinating Play!’ 2020 – 2025 will provide overall guidance for the development of playgrounds and play spaces in the city. It is the policy of Dublin City Council to provide accessible and inclusive play equipment and play opportunities for children and young people of all ages.

The following Principles for Designing Successful Play Spaces shall be applied:

  • Bespoke
  • Well-located
  • Use natural elements
  • Wide range of play experiences provided
  • Accessible to both people with and without disabilities
  • Meets community needs
  • Allows children of different ages to play together
  • Builds in opportunities to experience risk and challenge
  • Sustainable and appropriately maintained
  • Allows for change and evolution
  • Invest in universal design to support accessible and inclusive opportunities for play

In deciding on the location of appropriate play areas, regard should be had to the needs of all age groups. Play spaces for small children, i.e. under five years old, should be provided close to residential dwellings, i.e. safe from traffic and other hazards, overlooked informally from dwellings or frequented roads or footpaths, but should be located so that disruption is minimised. These spaces should have sunny and shady parts and be equipped with natural play elements such as logs/tree stumps/sand/water, etc., and with apparatus for swinging, climbing and rocking.

Play/recreational spaces and facilities for older children and teenagers, e.g. multi-use games areas, teenage shelters, skate parks, etc. should be available either within the scheme or close by, such as in a local square or green space where good linkages with the residential development can be created and where meaningful community interaction can take place. Facilities should also be provided for teens and older people where they can congregate while also respecting others. This can be achieved by providing such facilities in well trafficked, central areas of the scheme/ neighbourhood rather than trying to hide them (For further guidance see Urban Design Manual, 2009).

Formal and informal games/recreational areas for parents and other adults should also be integrated within schemes. One of the key aims for any development should be the bringing together of different groups on neutral territory where all can intermingle safely and securely.

Play/recreational spaces should be attractive, safe and engaging. Pedestrianisation in the vicinity of such areas should be maximised, and traffic should be eliminated or traffic-calming measures put in place. In addition, these spaces should be made identifiable by appropriate ‘play’ signage and there should be a network of routes linking homes with these spaces which enable children to travel freely around by foot, bicycle, skates or other wheeled play vehicles.

15.8.9 Naming of Residential Estates

All new street and development names shall reflect local historical, heritage or cultural associations and the basic generic description (i.e., Court, Quay, Road, etc.) must be appropriate.

The planning authority will approve the naming of residential developments in order to avoid confusion with similar names in other locations. Developers shall agree a scheme’s name, which shall be in  the Irish language, with the planning authority, prior to commencement of development, and the name selected shall be installed on site. Internal and external street/road signage must be in both the Irish and English languages, or, for newly named developments, in Irish only. All unit numbers must be visible.

15.8.10         Gated Communities

Dublin City Council will resist gated communities within the city and there is a general presumption against same in order to promote permeability and accessibility in the urban area. Where a gated scheme is proposed, the applicant must demonstrate the operational management strategy for the development and clearly set out the functionality of the gate mechanism proposed. The ongoing management and maintenance of the development will need to be demonstrated to avoid any situations where the mechanism malfunctions.

The applicant will also be required to demonstrate how the gate will function in respect of traffic movements and the potential wait time on the public road. Sufficient car parking will also need to be provided in order to prevent overspill car parking onto the public road.

15.8.11         Management Companies/Taking in Charge

Taking in charge refers to the taking over of the running/maintenance/ownership by a local authority of lands that were developed privately but which have public access and a wider public benefit in their provision. The local authority thereafter looks after these areas for the public. Examples are residential estate roads and public parks. Details of the requirements for taking in charge are provided in Appendix 5 of the plan.

Please also refer to Policy SI26 in relation to taking in charge of public and private drainage infrastructure in accordance with the standards set out within the Greater Dublin Regional Code of Practice for Drainage Works.

15.8.12         Financial Securities

To ensure the satisfactory completion of development, a condition may be attached to a planning permission requiring adequate security to be given until the development has been satisfactorily completed. Types of securities include a cash deposit, an insurance bond or such other liquid asset as may be agreed between a developer and the planning authority. The security may be sequestered in part or in its entirety where the development has not been satisfactorily completed. Dublin City Council will determine the amount of such financial security, in accordance with Development Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DEHLG, 2007) and Circular Letter PL11/2013, and any successor guidance.

15.9    Apartment Standards

Apartment schemes make up the majority of the new housing stock in Dublin City. In this respect, it is, therefore, essential that high quality, attractive and liveable apartment units are provided. All apartment developments should make a positive contribution to the local area in terms of public open space and / or public realm improvements and should provide long term living environments for future residents through quality communal amenity spaces and attractive and sustainable internal units.

The Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (December 2020) available at the following link: or any other future amendment thereof, sets out specific planning policy requirements (SPPR) for apartment developments. These Section 28 Guidelines should be referenced as part of any planning application for apartment developments. A summary of these SPPR’s together with additional requirements and standards for apartment developments are set out below.

15.9.1 Unit Mix

Specific Planning Policy Requirement 1 states that housing developments may include up to 50% one bedroom or studio type units (with no more than 20-25% of the total proposed development as studios) and there shall be no minimum requirement for apartments with three or more bedrooms unless specified as a result of a Housing Need and Demand Assessment (HNDA) carried out by the Planning Authority as part of the development plan process.

As part of the preparatory research for this Plan, alongside the preparation of a HNDA for the city, two sub areas were identified for sub-city level HNDA analysis; (i) the Liberties and (ii) the North Inner City. These areas were selected due to three main factors that differentiates them in relation to this particular issue:

  1. these areas have higher volumes of smaller housing stock (both historic and twentieth century);
  2. they have significant regeneration opportunity lands and
  3. they have in recent years experienced a high proportion of Strategic Housing Development applications, which have been dominated by BTR and a preponderance of smaller units.

The outcome of these two local HNDAs indicates increased demand for two and three person households and declining demand regarding single person households. (Section 2.4.1 of Appendix 1, Annex 3 refers.)

Taking into account (i) the modelled changing demand over the lifetime of the Plan which indicates a declining demand for one bed units, and (ii) the current pattern of applications for development that have high proportions of studio and one bed units and no three bed units; it is considered appropriate that a policy response is made to address this issue within these locations.

The following requirement for unit mix are, therefore, required in these two sub-city areas; (i) the Liberties and (ii) the North Inner City. SPPR1 is applicable to the remainder of the Dublin City Council administrative area:

To require planning applications that include residential accommodation of 15 residential units for more in the North Inner City and Liberties Sub-City Areas (as per Figure 1.2 as part of Appendix 01.03) include the following mix of units:

  • A minimum of 15% three or more bedroom units.
  • A maximum of 25%-30% one bedroom / studio units.

Council Part 8 or Part 10 residential schemes may propose a different mix having regard to the specific needs of the Housing & Community Services Department.

Standards may be relaxed for other social housing needs and/or where there is a verified need for a particular form of housing, for example for older people, subject to the adjudication of the Housing & Community Services Department.

SPPR 2 provides some flexibility in terms of unit mix for building refurbishment schemes on sites of any size, urban infill schemes on sites up to 0.25 ha, schemes up to 9 units and for schemes between 10 and 49 units. The planning authority will assess each application having regard to SPPR 2 on a case by case basis. For further details, please refer to The Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (December 2020) guidelines.

15.9.2 Unit Size / Layout

Specific Planning Policy Requirement 3 sets out the minimum floor areas for apartments. The minimum standards for apartments, as set out in the guidelines are as follows:

Table 15-5:      Minimum Floor Area Requirements for Apartments

Unit Type


Floor Area Requirement (min)


1 bedspace

37 sq. m.

1 bed

2 bedspaces

45 sq. m.

2 bed

4 bedspaces

73 sq. m.

3 bed

5 bedspaces

90 sq. m.


The introduction of a 2 bedroom, 3 person unit may be considered within a scheme to satisfy specialist housing for Part V social housing requirement or to facilitate appropriate accommodation for older people and care assistance.

These units will be restricted to a maximum of 10% of the overall unit mix. The 2 bedroom, 3 person unit will only be considered as part of specialist housing provision as specified above and will not be considered as standard residential accommodation.

The majority of all apartments in any proposed scheme of 10 or more apartments (excluding Build to Rent accommodation) shall exceed the minimum floor area standard for any combination of the relevant 1, 2 or 3 bedroom unit types, by a minimum of 10% (any studio apartments must be included in the total, but are not included as units that exceed the minimum by at least 10%). The layout of the larger units of each type should be designed in accordance with the guidance set out in Universal Design Guidelines for Homes in Ireland 2015.

Flexibility and adaptability are key considerations in the design of residential units. The concept of habitable rooms as distinct from bedrooms is important as it allows a residential unit to adapt to the needs of its residents over time (with the exception of the studio unit).

A habitable room of suitable size and design can change from a dining room to a bedroom, to a study as needs change. In particular, the second/ third bedroom should be flexible and the residential unit made attractive to households at different lifecycle stages. Furthermore, layouts and dimensions should allow for the delivery of furniture and facilitate home working where feasible. For larger dwellings, the provision of one main living room separate from a combined kitchen/dining area should be considered.

The needs of children must be considered in the design of the unit and this includes play areas, storage for play equipment, bathrooms big enough to bath a child, study areas, etc.

15.9.3 Dual Aspect

A dual aspect dwelling is defined as one with openable windows on two external walls, which may be either on opposite sides of a dwelling or on adjacent sides of a dwelling where the external walls of a dwelling wrap around the corner of a building. The provision of a bay window does not constitute dual aspect.

Dual aspect units significantly enhance the residential amenity obtained in a unit providing for better daylight and sunlight penetration and cross ventilation. Achieving dual aspect in living rooms is the most preferable unit configuration, allowing for high amenity value in the predominant living space.

Specific Planning Policy Requirement 4 requires a minimum of 33% dual aspect units in central and / or accessible urban locations and 50% of units in suburban and / or intermediate locations.

Dublin City Council will encourage all developments to meet or exceed 50% dual aspect within the development unless specific site characteristics dictate that a lower percentage may be appropriate.

In prime city centre locations, adjoining or adjacent to high quality, high frequency public transport, 33% dual aspect may be accepted in locations where there are specific site constraints such as tight urban infill sites up to 0.25ha or where there is a need to maintain a strong street frontage. In the outer city (beyond the canal ring) and within the SDRA’s, schemes with a minimum of 33% dual aspects units will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Where single aspect is proposed, the number of south facing units should be maximised. East and west facing units are also considered acceptable. The living spaces in these units should be situated with the most preferable orientation for maximum access to direct sunlight. North facing units will only be considered where they face an area of high amenity value such as a public park, water body or another significant view of interest. For clarity, north facing units are units which predominantly face north (i.e. over 50% of the façade). North east and north west units are defined as units that fall within a 45 degree angle of due north. This unit configuration will be considered in limited circumstances on a case by case basis.

The following example of unit configuration is considered dual aspect and can contribute toward the SPPR percentage requirement. Similar examples that clearly provide openable windows to two elevations will also be considered.

Figure 15.2:     Example of Dual Aspect Residential Unit

Figure 15.2

Unit configurations that do not qualify as dual aspect and will not be considered to contribute to the SPPR percentage requirement include:

Figure 15.3:     Residential Unit that Does Not Qualify as Dual Aspect - Example 1

Figure 15.3

Figure 15.4:     Residential Unit that Does Not Qualify as Dual Aspect - Example 2

Figure 15.4

15.9.4 Floor to Ceiling Height

SPPR 5 of the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (2020) set out the requirements for minimum floor to ceiling heights.

A minimum floor to ceiling height of 2.7m for ground floor residential units and a minimum of 2.4m in upper floor shall be provided. Where commercial units are proposed or where flexibility for adaptation to alternative uses is required at ground floor level, a floor to ceiling height of 3.5m to 4m shall be applied. This will be assessed on a case by case basis.

See Section 3.20 to 3.25 of the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (2020) for details.

15.9.5 Lift, Stair Cores and Entrance Lobbies

Specific Planning Policy Requirement 6 as set out in the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (2020) specifies that a maximum of 12 apartment per core may be provided. The maximum provision may be relaxed for refurbishment or infill sites of 0.25ha on a case by case basis.

See Section 3.26 to 3.34 of the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (2020) for details.

15.9.6 Internal Storage

Internal storage within an apartment unit shall be provided in accordance with the Sustainable Urban Development: Design Standards for New Apartments as set out in Appendix 1 and Section 3.30 to 3.34 of the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (2020) for details.

Flexibility shall be provided in certain circumstances on a case by case basis.

15.9.7 Private Amenity Space

Private amenity space shall be provided in the form of terrace, balcony or private garden and should be located off the main living area in the apartment. The minimum areas for private amenity are set out in Appendix 1 and Section 3.35 to 3.39 of the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (2020) for details.

At ground floor level, private amenity space should be sufficiently screened to provide for privacy. Where ground floor apartments are to be located adjoining the back of a public footpath or other public area, consideration may be given to the provision of a ‘privacy strip’ of approximately 1.5 m in depth, subject to appropriate landscape design and boundary treatment.

15.9.8 Communal Amenity Space

All new apartment developments are required to provide for communal amenity space externally within a scheme for the use by residents only. Communal open space provision is in addition to any private or public open space requirements. Communal amenity spaces may comprise of courtyard spaces and linear open spaces adjacent to the development.

The minimum areas for private amenity are set out in Appendix 1 and Section 4.10 to 4.12 of the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments (2020) for details.

Communal amenity space must be clearly defined and distinguished within a scheme and clearly identified as part of any planning application. The communal amenity areas should be of high landscape quality and provide for adequate daylight and sunlight access throughout the year. The communal amenity area should be functional and usable to a range of activities including, children’s play (see Section 15.8.8 for further details), passive recreation and leisurely activities such as games and exercise.

Communal amenity space should be located in areas that are overlooked and passively supervised. Where ground floor balconies/terraces bound directly onto communal spaces the use of a separation strip of low level planting between the two areas will be encouraged. Regard must also be had to future maintenance of amenity spaces in order to ensure that this is commensurate with the scale of development and does not become a burden on residents.

On refurbishment or infill sites of up to 0.25 ha, the communal amenity requirements may be relaxed on a case by case basis.

Development proposals shall demonstrate that the communal open space:

  • Complies with the minimum standards based on each individual unit.
  • Will be soft and/or hard landscaped with appropriate plant species and landscaping materials such as those with good resistance to accidental damage and low maintenance characteristics.
  • Is secure for residents and benefits from passive surveillance.
  • Considers the needs of children in particular in terms of safety and supervision and is fully accessible to all.
  • Achieves good sunlight penetration – see Appendix 16.
  • Has appropriate arrangements for maintenance and management such as a conveniently accessed garden maintenance and storage area with water and drainage connections.

15.9.9 Roof Terraces

Roof terraces may be provided in certain circumstances subject to an assessment of accessibility, safety and micro-climatic impacts. Roof terraces will not be permitted as the primary form of communal amenity space but may contribute to a combination of courtyard and or linear green space. The provision of roof terraces does not circumvent the need to provide an adequate accessible ground floor residential amenity that achieves adequate sunlight and daylight levels throughout the day unless exceptional site specific conditions prevail.

It must be demonstrated that roof terraces are suitable for the intended use in terms of wind comfort levels, daylight and sunlight, noise impacts and safe and secure accessibility for all users, particularly children. Roof terraces must also accommodate landscaping features such as tree planning, shrubs and outdoor seating in order to create a quality green environment. Any such planting should be of species which can thrive in low soil depth planters and when exposed to wind conditions. How such roof terraces are to be maintained and managed must also be demonstrated. See also Appendix 11 for guidance on green roofs.

15.9.10         Internal Communal Facilities

Large scale developments in excess of 100 or more units are encouraged to provide for internal communal facilities for use by residents. These facilitates include laundry rooms, community or meeting rooms, management offices, co – working spaces etc. Other uses such as gyms or co-working spaces can also be provided and available to non-resident users also. The range of uses proposed should be discussed with the planning authority at pre application stage.

15.9.11         Security

New apartment developments should incorporate safe and secure design principles throughout the scheme by maximising natural surveillance of all common areas, streets and parking areas. The design of the development should ensure activity along all building facades to create a sense of safety and security.

The location of entrance doors and lobbies should be located in highly visible areas of the building and should be well lit and overlooked.

Ground floor level apartments should be provided with a privacy strip of approximately 1.5m in order to maintain adequate security and privacy within the unit.

15.9.12         Access and Services

Pedestrian and vehicular access points should be clearly identified and located in areas that are physically overlooked. Pedestrian access should cater for all users including disabled persons and the elderly.

Internally within a scheme, access to each individual unit should be clearly identified and well lit through natural light where feasible.

Service ducts should be easily accessible from common circulation area to facilitate maintenance.

15.9.13         Refuse Storage

Refuse storage and collection facilities should be provided in all apartment schemes. Refuse storage should be accessible to each apartment stair/ lift core and be adequately sized to cater for the projected level of waste generation, types and quantities.

All applications for 30 or more apartments should be accompanied by an Operational Waste Management Plan that clearly identifies the projected quantities of waste and the proposed waste collection strategy. Refer to Appendix 7 and Policy SI29 and SI30 for further details.

15.9.14         Lifecycle Reports

All residential developments should include a building lifecycle report that sets out the long term management and maintenance strategy of a scheme.

The lifecycle report should include an assessment of the materials and finishes proposed, the ongoing management strategy, the protocol for maintenance and repair, the long term maintenance costs for residents and the specific measures that have been taken to effectively manage and reduce the costs for the benefit of residents.

The reports should address each of the following headings:

  • Assessment of Long Term Running and Maintenance Costs
    • Property / Owner Management Company and Common Areas
    • Service Charge Budget
  • Measures to Manage and Reduce Costs
    • Treatment, Materials and Finishes
    • Construction Methodology
    • Material Specification
    • Landscaping
    • Waste Management
    • Human Health and Well –being
    • Residential Management
    • Energy and Carbon Emissions
    • Transport and Accessibility

Compliance and acknowledgement of the provisions set out in the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 for the ownership and management of multi- unit developments should also be included.

15.9.15         Operational Management and Maintenance

On-going planned maintenance ensures the longevity of architectural and landscape design, sustains and increases the value of the property and minimises the life-cycle cost of development to owners and residents.

Service ducts serving two or more apartments should as far as practicable be accessible from common circulation areas to facilitate easy maintenance. The running of services overhead, particularly above the ceiling of a different unit should be avoided. To prevent demands for the installation of numerous individual satellite dishes on visible parts of the façades or roof of apartment buildings, provision should be made for locating communal or individual dishes on less visible parts of the building, such as at roof level. Ideally larger schemes will provide space for maintenance facilities such as a management room, maintenance store(s) and in some circumstances accommodation for a caretaker should be included.

All apartment developments will be required to address the maintenance and management of a development to clarify the overall operational management plan for the development together with the maintenance strategy for the upkeep of the building.

These plans will assist the planning authority in considering the long term contribution of the development and the strategy and objectives for the maintenance and operation of the development.

15.9.16         Microclimate – Daylight and Sunlight, Wind and Noise

All apartment schemes should be accompanied by an assessment of the microclimatic impacts including daylight and sunlight, noise and wind. These assessments should outline compliance with the relevant standards and ensure a high level of residential amenity is provided both within the apartment unit and within the surrounding residential properties.      Daylight and Sunlight

Good daylight and sunlight contribute to making a building energy-efficient; it reduces the need for electric lighting, while winter solar gain can reduce heating requirements. Daylight animates an interior and makes it attractive and interesting, as well as providing light to work or read by.

A daylight and sunlight assessment should be provided to assess the impact of the proposed development on the surrounding properties and amenity areas outside the site boundary and assess the daylight and sunlight received within each individual unit and communal areas of a proposed scheme.

A best practice guide for the assessment and methodology of Daylight and Sunlight Assessments is set out in Appendix 16.      Wind

A wind assessment will be required in certain circumstances where taller buildings are proposed or where there is potential for wind tunnelling in order to analyse the pedestrian wind comfort levels received in proposed balconies, communal amenity spaces, roof gardens and at the entrance points to the scheme.

The Lawson Comfort Criteria sets out an appropriate pedestrian comfort levels in a given space based on suitability for pedestrian activities. The purpose of the assessment is to clarify that the intended use of a space is suitable and to identify mitigation measures required (if any). The activities and locations can be defined as follows:

Table 15-6:      Activities and Locations to be considered in Wind Assessments





Regular use for reading a newspaper and easting / drinking

Private balconies / communal courtyards / roof terraces


Appropriate for bus stops, window shopping, building entrances and public amenity spaces such as parks

All entrances / public open space areas


General area of walking and sightseeing

New streets and internal walkways

Business Walking

Local areas around tall buildings where people are not expected to linger

City Centre public streets only.

All areas within a development should be at a satisfactory level to ensure maximum comfort levels for all users.      Noise

Noise impact assessments are used to assess the noise levels received within a development and to identify the potential noise impact generated from a development.

Acoustic privacy is a measure of sound insulation between dwellings and between external and internal spaces. All apartment developments should be designed as to ensure noise transmission between units and from external or internal communal areas is minimised. Guidance for noise reduction in building is set out in BS 8233:2014.

The following principles are recommended for minimising disruption from noise in dwellings:

  • Utilise the site and building layout to maximise acoustic privacy by providing good building separation within the development and appropriate noise insulation measures to reduce noise transfer and vibration to neighbouring buildings and noise sources.
  • Arrange units within the development and the internal layout to minimise noise transmission by locating busy, noisy areas next to each other and quieter areas next to quiet areas.
  • Keep stairs, lifts, and service and circulation areas away from noise sensitive rooms like bedrooms. Particular attention should be paid to the siting and acoustic isolation of the lift motor room.

Proposals close to noisy places, such as busy streets / railway lines, may need a noise impact assessment and mitigation plan. (Noise maps and Noise Action Plan are available at

Please also refer to Section 15.18.9 – Noise which provides details on areas of the city with greater potential to be affected by noise given proximity to critical infrastructure such as Dublin Airport.

15.9.17         Separation Distances (Apartments)

Traditionally a minimum distance of 22m is required between opposing first floor windows. In taller blocks, a greater separation distance may be prescribed having regard to the layout, size, and design. In certain instances, depending on orientation and location in built-up areas, reduced separation distances may be acceptable. Separation distances between buildings will be assessed on a case by case basis.

In all instances where the minimum separation distances are not met, each development will be assessed on a case by case basis having regard to the specific site constraints and the ability to comply with other standards set out within this chapter in terms of residential quality and amenity.

15.9.18         Overlooking and Overbearance

‘Overbearance’ in a planning context is the extent to which a development impacts upon the outlook of the main habitable room in a home or the garden, yard or private open space service a home. In established residential developments, any significant changes to established context must be considered. Relocation or reduction in building bulk and height may be considered as measures to ameliorate overbearance.

Overlooking may be overcome by a variety of design tools, such as:

  • Building configurations (bulk and massing).
  • Elevational design / window placement.
  • Using oblique windows.
  • Using architectural features.
  • Landscape and boundary treatments.

Alto Vetro Locality

15.10  Build to Rent Residential Developments (BTR)

“Build to Rent” (BTR) refers to purpose built residential accommodation and associated amenities built specifically for long term rental that is managed and serviced in an institutional manner by an institutional landlord. Recent emerging trends would indicate that the dominance of BTR in large schemes can be to the detriment of the build to sell units.

Dublin City Council will consider “Built to Rent” developments in specific locations as follows:

  • Within the Inner City (i.e. within the canal ring).
  • Within 500m walking distance of a high employment area i.e. more than 500 employees per hectare.
  • Within 500m of major public transport interchanges (e.g. Connolly Station, Tara Street Station and Heuston Station), and within identified Strategic Development Regenerations Zones.

There will be a general presumption against large scale residential developments (in excess of 100 units) which comprise of 100% BTR typology. To ensure a sustainable mix of tenure and long term sustainable communities, minimum of 40 % of standard build to sell apartments will be required in such instances.

BTR schemes of less than 100 units will generally not be supported. The concept of Built to Rent requires a critical mass of accommodation to provide a meaningful provision of communal facilities and services. Smaller BTR schemes with less than 100 units will only be considered where it can be demonstrated that there is a strong need for the development and a detailed justification is provided.

Furthermore, whilst BTR is considered to be an integral part in achieving an appropriate mix of housing in the right locations, there will be a presumption against the proliferation and over concentration of Build to Rent development in any one area (refer to Section 5.5.7 of Chapter 5 Quality Housing and Sustainable Neighbourhoods). Applications for “Build to Rent” developments should be accompanied by as assessment of other permitted BTR developments in the vicinity (3km) of the site to demonstrate that the development would not result in the over concentration of one housing tenure in a particular area.

15.10.1         Design Standards

The Sustainable Urban Development Design Standards for New Apartments set out specific planning policy requirements for “Build to Rent” developments. SPPR7 refers to the provision of resident support facilities (laundry, concierge, management facilities etc.) and resident services and amenities (sports facilities, resident lounge, function rooms, co-working spaces etc.).

Whist the Guidelines do not provide for a quantitative standard residential support facilities and resident services and amenities, a general guideline of 3 sq. m. per person is recommended. This will be assessed on a case by case basis where the applicant can demonstrate a high standard of services and facilities.

SPPR8 refers to specific relaxations that can be applied to BTR scheme which differentiate BTR schemes from standard residential developments.

SPPR8 (ii) states that flexibility can be applied to the provision of storage space, private amenity space and communal space within a scheme at the discretion of the planning authority.

There is a general presumption against excessive derogation of these requirements, in particular, private amenity space. Where derogations of private amenity space are sought, there will be an onus on the applicant to demonstrate that the quality of the unit is of a higher standard, e.g. in excess of the minimum floor area, contains unique design features and that the loss/reduction of private amenity is compensated within the communal amenity provision, e.g. if a unit requires 5 sq. m. of private amenity space, this quantum should be offset to provide for an additional 5 sq. m. communal amenity space.

Dublin City Council will seek to ensure a high level of amenity is provided within BTR schemes. All applications should seek to demonstrate compliance with the relevant standards for storage, private and communal open space as set out in Appendix 1 of the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments.

In all cases, the onus will be on the project proposer to demonstrate the overall quality of the facilities provided and that residents will enjoy an enhanced overall standard of amenity.

15.10.2         Communal and Public Open Space

All Built to Rent developments will be required to provide for the same quantum of external communal open space and public open space as set out for standard apartment developments, see Section 15.6.12 and 15.8.6.

15.11  House Developments

For guidance and standards relating to ancillary residential accommodation including: residential extensions, detached habitable rooms, porches, alterations at roof level/attics/dormers /additional floors, sub-division of dwellings, ancillary family accommodation, home based economic activities and demolition and replacement dwellings see Appendix 18.

15.11.1         Floor areas

Houses shall comply with the principles and standards outlined in Section 5.3: ‘Internal Layout and Space Provision’ contained in the DEHLG ‘Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities – Best Practice Guidelines for Delivering Homes Sustaining Communities’ (2007) which can be accessed at

15.11.2         Aspect, Daylight / Sunlight and Ventilation

The orientation and layout of house units should maximise the use of natural daylight and sunlight as much as possible. Where feasible, the main habitable rooms (living / kitchen) should have south and/or west facades.

Rear private garden should be sufficiently sized and orientated to ensure direct sunlight access is achieved for part of the day on March 21st. Living rooms shall not be lit solely by roof lights. Bedrooms solely lit by roof lights will be considered in certain circumstances on a case by case basis. All habitable rooms must be naturally ventilated and lit.

Further details and guidelines for Daylight and Sunlight Assessments are set out in Appendix 16.

15.11.3         Private Open Space

Private open space for houses is usually provided by way of private gardens to the rear of a house. A minimum standard of 10 sq. m. of private open space per bedspace will normally be applied. A single bedroom represents one bedspace and a double bedroom represents two bedspaces. Generally, up to 60-70 sq. m. of rear garden area is considered sufficient for houses in the city. In relation to proposals for house(s) within the inner city, a standard of 5–8 sq. m. of private open space per bedspace will normally be applied.

These standards may be relaxed on a case by case basis subject to a qualitative analysis of the development.

Where dwellings have little or no front gardens in urban settings, it is important that ‘defensible space’ is created behind the public footpath, for example, by means of a planting strip, and the design of ground floor windows will need to be carefully considered. Rear gardens and similar private areas should: be screened from public areas, provide safe and secure play areas for children, be overlooked from the window of a living area or kitchen, have robust boundaries, and not back on to roads or public open spaces.

15.11.4         Separation Distances (Houses)

At the rear of dwellings, there should be adequate separation between opposing first floor windows. Traditionally, a separation of about 22 m was sought between the rear first floor windows of 2-storey dwellings but this may be relaxed if it can be demonstrated that the development is designed in such a way as to preserve the amenities and privacy of adjacent occupiers. Careful positioning and detailed design of opposing windows can prevent overlooking with shorter back-to-back distances and windows serving halls and landings which do not require the same degree of privacy as habitable rooms.

15.13  Other Residential Typologies

15.13.1         Student Accommodation

The City Council supports the provision of high-quality, professionally managed, purpose-built third-level student accommodation, either on campus or in accessible locations adjacent to quality public transport corridors and cycle routes, in a manner which respects the residential amenities of the locality[2].

Proposals for student accommodation shall be in accordance with Policy QHSN43. Student accommodation should make a positive contribution to the built environment, in terms of design quality, scale, height and the relationship to adjacent buildings. The external layout, including any necessary security arrangements, should be designed to avoid isolating developments from the surrounding community.

In assessing proposals, the planning authority will have regard to the pattern and distribution of student accommodation in the locality, and will resist the overconcentration of such schemes in any one area, in the interests of achieving a sustainable mix of development, whilst also providing for successful urban regeneration, good public transport/cycling/ walking connectivity, and the protection of residential amenity.

All applications for student accommodation must be accompanied by documentation outlining how the scheme will be professionally managed including confirmation that all occupiers will be students registered with a third-level institution.

Documentation must also outline how the scheme will support integration with the local community, through its design and layout. Permissions for student housing will be subject to a condition requiring a planning permission for a change of use to other types of residential accommodation.

The provisions of Part V (Social and Affordable Housing) of the Planning Acts do not apply to student accommodation in the City Council area.

In assessing applications for purpose built student accommodation the planning authority will have regard to the following key factors:

  • The location is appropriate in terms of access to university and college facilities by walking, cycling or public transport.
  • The proposal will not result in an excessive concentration of student accommodation (including that in the private rented sector) to an extent that would be detrimental to the maintenance of balanced communities or to the established character and residential amenity of the locality.

It is preferable in principle that student needs are met as far as possible in purpose built and managed schemes rather than the widespread conversion of family housing. In general, such provision can take place at relatively high densities. Open space and car parking provision can be tailored to reflect the nature of the proposed use. However, these considerations should not compromise design quality. Developments should be close to the universities and colleges and accessible by public transport.

In assessing the degree of concentration of student accommodation, the Council will take into account the nature of the locality in terms of mix of land use and housing types, the existing and proposed number of students in the locality. To assist in this assessment the applicant will be requested to submit evidence of existing, proposed and under construction student accommodation developments within an area, including a map showing all such facilities within 1km of a proposal.      Unit Mix

Student accommodation is typically provided on a ‘cluster’ type model comprising of a group of bedrooms and a shared kitchen / living/ dining space. A minimum of 3 bed spaces with an overall minimum gross floor area of 55 sq. m. up to a maximum of 8 bed spaces and a maximum gross floor area of 160 sq. m. shall be provided in any ‘cluster’ of student accommodation units.

Consideration will be given to an increase in the number of bedrooms per cluster on campus locations with a maximum of 12 bed spaces per cluster.

Bathrooms must be provided en-suite within each bedrooms unit.

The cluster model shall provide minimum bedroom sizes as follows:

Table 15-7:      Minimum Bedroom Sizes for Student Accommodation Clusters

Bedroom Type

Bedroom Size (min)

Bedroom Size including En‑Suite (min)

Single Study

8 sq. m.

12 sq. m.

Twin Study

15 sq. m.

18 sq. m.

Disabled Study


15 sq. m.

An alternative ‘studio’ model may also be considered in certain circumstances within a larger student accommodation scheme. These studio units can accommodate single or double occupancy and shall comprise of en-suite bathroom facilities and private kitchenettes/cooking facilities. These studio units shall provide a minimum of 25 sq. m. and a maximum gross floor area of 35 sq. m.      Daylight and Sunlight

Student accommodation should be designed to give optimum orientation in terms of daylight to habitable rooms. Given the nature of student occupancy, the residential standards in relation to dual aspect may be relaxed. Proposed developments shall be guided by the principles of Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight, A Guide to Good Practice (Building Research Establishment Report, 2011). See also Appendix 16.      Communal Facilities

Communal facilities and services which serve the needs of students shall be provided both internally and externally within a scheme.

Adequate external open space of suitable orientation should be provided within developments for the amenity of students. Generally ground floor courtyards that achieve appropriate daylighting and sun lighting will be required. In certain circumstances, terraces and roof gardens will be considered but only in addition to appropriate ground level amenity provision.

The provision of indoor communal space can be broken down to indoor amenity spaces such as cinema rooms, study rooms, games rooms etc. and indoor services such as laundry facilities, caretaker/ security and refuse facilities etc.

Where accommodation is provided on-campus, communal facilities will be assessed on a case-by-case basis having regard to the level of and access to on campus amenity. Details are to be provided as part of the application.

All proposals must provide appropriate indoor and outdoor communal and recreational facilities for students at a combined level of at least 5-7 sq. m. per bedspace.

In addition, shared kitchen/living/dining rooms shall be provided within each student cluster, based on a minimum 4 sq. m. per bed space. This is in addition to any circulation space and communal space provided.

Table 15-8:      Communal Requirements for Student Accommodation Clusters

Communal Requirement


Indoor / Outdoor

5-7 sq. m. per bedspace

Kitchen / Living / Dining

4 sq. m. per bedspace


9-13 sq. m. per bedspace      Car Parking / Bicycle Parking

Designated car parking will not be supported in student accommodation schemes in the city. However, car parking for persons with disabilities should be provided. See Appendix 5 for further details.

Provision can be made to provide for a car sharing service for the use of residents. All student accommodation developments should however, be accompanied by a mobility management plan – refer to transport appendix 5.

A minimum of one cycle parking space per resident should be provided within the development as well as additional visitor parking at surface level at a rate of 1 per 10 no. residents – refer to Appendix 5 for further details.      Temporary Use as Tourist Accommodation

The use of Student Accommodation as temporary tourist accommodation will be considered outside the normal academic year. The tourist / visitor accommodation shall only be occupied for short-term letting periods of no more than two months and shall not be used as independent and separate self-contained permanent residential units. Appropriate conditions will apply.

15.13.2         Shared Accommodation (Co-Living) Developments

Shared Accommodation (Co-Living) developments are purpose built professionally managed rental accommodation where individual rooms are rented within a commercial development that includes access to shared or communal facilities and amenities.

Specific Planning Policy Requirement 9 states that there shall be a presumption against granting shared accommodation (Co-Living) schemes unless the proposed development is required to meet the specific demand identified as part of a housing need and demand assessment (HNDA).

A HNDA has been carried out as part of the development plan and has not identified any requirement for shared accommodation (co-living) developments. There is, therefore, a general presumption against this form of development in the city and the City Council will not support further co-living developments in the city.

15.13.3         Infill /Side Garden Housing Developments

The development of a dwelling or dwellings in the side garden of an existing house is a means of making the most efficient use of serviced residential lands. Such developments, when undertaken on suitable sites and to a high standard of design, can constitute valuable additions to the residential building stock of an area and will generally be allowed for by the planning authority on suitable large sites.

The planning authority will favourably consider the development of infill housing on appropriate sites, having regard to development plan policy on infill sites and to facilitate the most sustainable use of land and existing urban infrastructure. In general, infill housing should comply with all relevant development plan standards for residential development including unit sizes, dual aspect requirements, internal amenity standards and open space requirements. In certain limited circumstances, the planning authority may relax the normal planning standards in the interest of ensuring that vacant, derelict and under-utilised land is developed.

The planning authority will have regard to the following criteria in assessing proposals for the development of corner/side garden sites:

  • The character of the street.
  • Compatibility of design and scale with adjoining dwellings, paying attention to the established building line, proportion, heights, parapet levels and materials of adjoining buildings.
  • Accommodation standards for occupiers.
  • Development plan standards for existing and proposed dwellings.
  • Impact on the residential amenities of adjoining sites.
  • Open space standards and refuse standards for both existing and proposed dwellings.
  • The provision of a safe means of access to and egress from the site.
  • The provision of landscaping and boundary treatments which are in keeping with other properties in the area.
  • The maintenance of the front and side building lines, where appropriate.
  • Level of visual harmony, including external finishes and colours.
  • Larger corner sites may allow more variation in design, but more compact detached proposals should more closely relate to adjacent dwellings. A modern design response may, however, be deemed more appropriate in certain areas and the Council will support innovation in design.
  • Side gable walls as side boundaries facing corners in estate roads are not considered acceptable and should be avoided.
  • Appropriate boundary treatments should be provided both around the site and between the existing and proposed dwellings. Existing boundary treatments should be retained/ reinstated where possible.
  • Use of first floor/apex windows on gables close to boundaries overlooking footpaths, roads and open spaces for visual amenity and passive surveillance.

15.13.4         Backland Housing

Backland development is generally defined as development of land that lies to the rear of an existing property or building line. Dublin City Council will allow for the provision of comprehensive backland development where the opportunity exists.

Backland housing can comprise of larger scale redevelopment with an overall site access; mews dwellings with access from a rear laneway or detached habitable dwellings to the rear of existing housing with and independent vehicular access.

Developments with street presence are generally governed by clear set out rules established by the urban order of an existing streetscape. Backland development, however, requires more innovation and reinterpretation to enable comprehensive development of these spaces.

Consideration of access and servicing and the interrelationship between overlooking, privacy, aspect and daylight / sunlight are paramount to the success and acceptability of new development in backland conditions.

Where there is potential to provide backland development at more than one site/property in a particular area, the Planning Authority will seek to encourage the amalgamation of adjoining sites/properties in order to provide for a more comprehensive backland development, this should be discussed at pre-planning stage. Piecemeal backland development with multiple vehicular access points will not be encouraged. See Appendix 5 for further details on vehicular access.

Applications for backland housing should consider the following:

  • Compliance with relevant residential design standards in relation to unit size, room size, private open space etc.
  • Provision of adequate separation distances to ensure privacy is maintained and overlooking is minimised.
  • That safe and secure access for car parking and service and maintenance vehicles is provided.
  • The scale, form and massing of the existing properties and interrelationship with the proposed backland development.
  • The impacts on the either the amenity of the existing properties in terms of daylight, sunlight, visual impact etc. or on the amenity obtained with the unit itself.
  • The materials and finishes proposed with regard to existing character of the area.
  • A proposed backland dwelling shall be located not less than 15 metres from the rear façade of the existing dwelling, and with a minimum rear garden depth of 7 metres.
  • A relaxation in rear garden length, may be acceptable, once sufficient open space provided to serve the proposed dwelling and the applicant can demonstrate that the proposed backland dwelling will not impact negatively on adjoining residential amenity.

All applications for infill developments will be assessed on a case by case basis. In certain instances, Dublin City Council may permit relaxation of some standards to promote densification and urban consolidation in specific areas. The applicant must demonstrate high quality urban design and a comprehensive understanding of the site and the specific constraints to justify the proposal.

15.13.5         Mews

Historic mews structures mainly comprised stabling with living quarters were typically two-storey in height and had an integral carriage arch for access. During the 20th Century, many older mews structures were adapted for warehouse or garage use. Mews dwellings are an integral part of backland development across the city. Mews dwellings are typically accessed via existing laneways or roadways serving the rear of residential developments.

Many historic mews buildings remain within the curtilage of protected structures and are, therefore, also afforded statutory protection. The relationship between the historic main house and its mews structure remains a relevant consideration for architectural heritage protection. Dublin City Council recognises the increasing rarity of stone/brick coach houses and the need to retain and conserve all of the surviving examples. Proposals to demolish such buildings will generally not be accepted.

It is an objective of the City Council to protect the character and setting of mews dwellings and to ensure all new proposal are respectful and appropriate in its context; see also Policy BHA14 and Objective BHAO5 in Chapter 11. Applications for mews development should consider servicing, including the impact on existing infrastructure such as waste and water systems.      Design and Layout

Dublin City Council will actively encourage schemes which provide a unified approach to the development of residential mews lanes and where consensus between all property owners has been agreed. This unified approach framework is the preferred alternative to individual development proposals. Individual proposals however, will also be considered and assessed on a case by case basis.

Traditional and/ or high quality contemporary design for mews buildings will be considered. The materials proposed should respect the existing character of the area and utilise a similar colour palette to that of the main structure.

The distance between the opposing windows of mews dwellings and of the main houses shall ensure a high level of privacy is provided and potential overlooking is minimised. In such cases, innovative and high quality design will be required to ensure privacy and to provide an adequate setting, including amenity space, for both the main building and the mews dwelling.

Private open space shall be provided to the rear of the mews building to provide for adequate amenity space for both the original and proposed dwelling and shall be landscaped so as to provide for a quality residential environment. The open space area shall not be obstructed by off-street parking.

If the main house is in multiple occupancy, the amount of private open space remaining after the subdivision of the garden for a mews development shall meet both the private open space requirements for the main house divided into multiple dwellings and for mews development.

With regard to Protected Structures, where new boundary walls are proposed between the principal building and the associated mews / coach house, the proposed boundary line should be located at an appropriate distance from the building line of the Protected Structure so as to provide an appropriate amenity space for the Protected Structure.

The form and layout of the new development of mews structures should:

  • Acknowledge the historic building plots where possible. Where a proposal extends over more than one building plot, articulation in the design and layout should be introduced to make reference to the original plot layout. The amalgamation or subdivision of plots on mews lanes will generally not be encouraged.
  • The existing building line should be maintained where possible. The rear building line of new mews developments should be consistent with the existing mews plots where possible.
  • The sensitive adaptive reuse of existing and new mews buildings for residential purposes will be encouraged and promoted.      Height, Scale and Massing

New buildings should complement the character of both the mews lane and main building with regard to scale, massing, height, building depth, roof treatment and materials. The height of mews building should not negatively impact on the views from the main property. Development will generally be confined to two-storey buildings. In certain circumstances, three-storey mews developments incorporating apartments will be acceptable, where the proposed mews building:

  • is subordinate in height and scale to the main building;
  • is maintaining the established height of existing mews roof ridgelines;
  • has an acceptable level of open space and where the laneway is suitable for resulting traffic conditions;
  • has sufficiently sized apartment units in line with the relevant Section 28 Guidelines.

This is in line with national policy to promote increased residential densities in proximity to the city centre.

Proposals for an additional set back level may be considered on a case by case basis where the additional floor is integrated within the pitched roof element of the structure or where the design and form is contemporary. The set-back should be a minimum of 1.5 metres from the front building line.      Roofs

The roof profile for mews buildings should be simple and in keeping with the character of the area. The following roofs are suitable: flat green or low-pitch metal roofs and double pitched slate roofs similar to the surviving mews building. All pitched roofs should run parallel with the mews lane with no ridge lines running perpendicular to the lane. New development should not break the legibility of the form of the original coach house terrace.      Access

Parking provision in mews lanes, where provided, may be in off-street garages, forecourts or courtyards, subject to conservation and access criteria. Car free mews developments may be permitted in certain circumstances where there are specific site constraints and where alternative modes of transport are available. Each development will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Potential mews laneways must provide adequate accessibility in terms of private vehicular movements, emergency vehicles and refuse vehicles. Where access cannot be provided, an access and movement strategy must be provided to justify that the development can be adequately served. See Appendix 5 for further details.

All mews lanes will be considered to be shared surfaces, and footpaths need not necessarily be provided. Where historic materials exist, roof materials, stone, paving surfaces, windows, joinery, ironmongery etc. these should be retained in order to protect the special character of the original mews lanes

15.13.6         Living Over the Shop

Dublin City Council will actively encourage the development of residential accommodation over existing commercial premises. It is acknowledged that there is a considerable amount of vacancy and underutilised floorspace on the upper floors of commercial premises that have the capacity to contribute significantly to the housing stock of the city.

Applications for the refurbishment and reuse of these buildings for residential accommodation will, therefore, be supported and actively pursued subject to suitability of location and standard of accommodation provided.

Residential accommodation should seek comply with the relevant standards for apartments as set out in Section 28 Guidelines. However, in certain instances and where a building is a protected structure, relaxations of these standards will be considered.

Car free developments will be supported for refurbishment schemes. Access to adequate bicycle storage will be required where feasible.

Each application will be assessed on a case by case basis.

15.13.7         Nursing Homes/Assisted Living

There is a continuing and growing need for nursing homes and in particular, due to the aging population. Such facilities should be integrated wherever possible into the established residential areas of the city.

Such facilities should be located in established neighbourhoods / residential areas well served by community infrastructure, and amenities. Future residents should expect reasonable access to local services.

In determining planning applications for change of use of a residential dwelling or other building to nursing/elder care home, the following factors should be considered:

  • Compliance with standards as laid down in the Statutory Instrument No. 293 of 2016, Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2016.
  • Compliance with the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland (July 2016), and any successor document.
  • The effect on the amenities of adjoining properties.
  • Adequacy of off-street parking.
  • Suitable private open space.
  • The design and scale of the facility proposed: the scale must be appropriate to the area.
  • Proximity of high quality public transport links and provision of good footpath links

Ancillary accommodation for staff of any such facility will be considered on a case by case basis.

15.13.8         Care Homes

In accordance with the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 (as amended), applications for change of use from a house to use as a residence for persons with an intellectual or physical disability or mental illness and persons providing care for such persons will require planning permission where the number of persons with such a disability exceeds six, and where the number of resident carers exceeds two will require planning permission. Please refer to National Quality Standards: Residential Services for People with Disabilities prepared by HIQA.

15.13.9         Hostels / Sheltered Accommodation / Family Hubs

Family hubs are emergency accommodation facilities for families who become homeless and who have no alternative other than commercial hotels. Family hubs are not long term facilities and will act only as temporary accommodation until housing can be provided under social housing supports, as supply becomes available.

Family hubs can comprise of either purpose built accommodation or conversion of existing residential accommodation for the use as shared living environments. Family hubs shall provide appropriate high quality play spaces for children, cooking and laundry facilities and communal recreational spaces. More details are available at:

An over-concentration of non-tourist hostel accommodation, homeless accommodation, social support institutions and family hubs can potentially undermine the sustainability of a neighbourhood and so there must be an appropriate balance in the further provision of such developments and/or expansion of such existing uses in electoral wards which already accommodate a disproportionate quantum. Accordingly, there shall be an onus on all applicants to indicate that any proposal such development will not result in an undue concentration of such uses, nor undermine the existing local economy, the resident community, the residential amenity, or the regeneration of the area.

All such applications for such uses shall include the following:

  • A map of all homeless and other social support services within a 750 m radius of application site.
  • A statement on catchment area, i.e. whether proposal is to serve local or regional demand and estimation of expected daily clients.
  • A statement regarding security and operational management of the service/facility including hours of operation.
  • Assessment of the impact on the public realm and quality environment.

Conditions may be attached to a grant of permission limiting the duration of the permission and the use on a temporary basis.

15.13.10       Traveller Accommodation

Dublin City Council recognises the tradition of the Traveller Community within the city and has regard to the specific requirements arising from its indigenous culture. The Council will implement measures, as required by law and national policy, in accordance with the housing strategy to provide accommodation for member of the Travelling Community.

Dublin City Council will provide for the accommodation needs of the travelling community as far as reasonable and practical using the full range of housing options available in consultation with the travelling community and a number of statutory and voluntary agencies concerned in accordance with QHSN28 and QHSN29.

15.13.11   Embassies

Where permission is granted for the use of a dwelling house as a residential embassy, such permission will be regarded as limited in duration to the period of such use by the applicant or other residential embassy use, after which the building(s) will be returned to residential use.

15.14  Commercial Development/Miscellaneous

15.14.1         Hotels and Aparthotels

To counter balance the recent over development of hotels, there will be a general presumption to avoid an overconcentration of hotels and aparthotels pending the outcome of a hotel study. Hotels and aparthotels will be considered on a case by case basis having regard to the location of the site and existing hotel provision in the area.

In certain instances, where the planning authority deems there to be an overconcentration of such facilities in an area, the applicant will be requested to submit a report indicating all existing and proposed hotel and aparthotel developments within a 1km catchment providing a justification that the development will not undermine the principles of achieving a balanced pattern of development in the area, and demonstrating that the proposed development fully complies with the criteria set out in Policy CEE28 and in Section and below.      Hotel Development

Hotel developments are encouraged to provide for publically accessible facilities such as café, restaurant and bar uses to generate activity at street level throughout the day and night. Hotels are also encouraged to provide a mix of publically accessible uses vertically throughout the building such as roof terrace restaurant and bars to further generate activity.

Applications for roof top uses will be assessed having regard to the impact on neighbouring properties in terms of noise levels and overlooking.

Hotel development should also be accompanied by operational management plans that demonstrate how the hotel will be serviced and traffic / drop off managed. All loading, waste collection and servicing must be provided off road in a designated loading area where feasible. Pick up and drop off services can be accommodated on street subject to adequate space being provided.

Hotel room size and layout should be designed and to ensure a high level of amenity is obtained to accommodate both short and long stay durations. Adequate provision should also be provided for the storage of laundry facilities and materials.      Aparthotels

An aparthotel can provide tourists and visitors with the flexibility, space and luxury of a fully furnished apartment managed and serviced like a hotel. It is not intended that any type of visitor accommodation, including aparthotels, is used or occupied by permanent households or for the purposes of providing student accommodation.

When assessing any application for an aparthotel, Dublin City Council will apply the following considerations:

  • The proposed development will include, as a minimum, a fully serviced reception desk and administration facilities, concierge, security and housekeeping facilities and may contain entertainment and uses considered to be associated with the management of the aparthotel.
  • The provision of food and refreshment facilities is also desirable but regard will be had to the level of amenities accessible within the immediate area.
  • Active ground floor uses will be encouraged to contribute to the activity and vitality of the street in certain locations.
  • The design and layout of the aparthotel units should be such to enable the amalgamation of individual units to cater for the needs of visitors, especially families.
  • In any application for an aparthotel, a range of different unit styles and sizes will be required in order to cater for the needs of visitors; the planning authority will resist the over-provision of single bed aparthotel units and shall require a mix of unit sizes and styles.
  • If it is intended to convert the aparthotel units into residential units in the future, the standards for residential developments as set out in the development plan must be adhered to, including car parking standards and all private and public open space requirements. The planning authority will resist applications for change of use in cases where these standards are not reached, or in cases where the proposed development is contrary to the zoning objectives of the area.
  • Permissions for aparthotels will have a condition attached requiring planning permission from change of use from commercial short-term accommodation to residential. Permissions for aparthotels will also have a condition attached stating that the maximum occupancy period for the proposed development shall be two months.

15.14.2         Bed and Breakfast / Guesthouses

Planning permission is required for the conversion of more than four bedrooms in a dwelling house into a bed and breakfast establishment, in accordance with Article 10(4) of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001(as amended).

In determining planning applications for change of use to bed and breakfast, guesthouse, hotel or tourist hostel in residential areas, the planning authority will have regard to the following:

  • Size and nature of facility.
  • The effect on the amenity of neighbouring residents.
  • The standard of accommodation for the intended occupiers of the premises.
  • The availability of adequate, safe and convenient arrangements for car parking and servicing.
  • The type of advertising proposed.
  • The effect on listed buildings and/or conservation areas.
  • The number of existing facilities in the area.

People sitting outside a cafe

15.14.3         Short Term Tourist Rental Accommodation

There is a general presumption against the provision of dedicated short term tourist rental accommodation in the city due to the impact on the availability of housing stock.

Applications for Short Term Tourist Rental Accommodation will be considered on a case by case basis in certain locations that may not be suitable for standard residential development such as tight urban sites where normal standards or residential amenity may be difficult to achieve. Applications may also be considered in locations adjacent to high concentration of night / time noisy activity where standard residential development would be unsuitable.

15.14.4         Office

The provision of office accommodation will be supported in appropriate areas of the city. Regard will be had to the scale of such development depending on location. All office proposals shall be accompanied by an architectural design statement which details the internal building design and layout to ensure a high standard of amenity for future employees, in relation to noise impact, daylight and sunlight, ventilation, etc.

Applications for large scale office development should demonstrate how the proposal interacts with the public realm at street level to provide for active frontage and a high level of animation.

Large scale office schemes, in excess of 5,000 sq. m., will be required to provide for an element of high quality, public open space or contribute to the public realm of the area through landscaped features such as roof terraces, courtyard gardens and enhanced amenity at street level. Such proposals should be accompanied by a landscape design report in this regard which demonstrates how the proposals contribute to the natural and built environment.

15.14.5         Co-Working Spaces

Co-working spaces are e-working hubs that enable a range of users to work independently in a collective space. Co- working spaces should provide for independent pods for individual e- working as well as larger meeting rooms and communal areas including food and beverage facilities to cater for all users.

Co-working spaces should ensure a high level of interaction at street level and avoid the use of screens / glazing manifestations where possible.

Communal cycle storage and associated facilities should be provided in accordance with requirements for office developments, Appendix 5 for further details.

Co- Working spaces should be located in city centre areas, key urban villages or in urban villages/neighbourhood centres in line with the 15 minutes city objective. The use of co-working spaces for community groups is also supported for local meeting, further education etc.

15.14.6         Medical and Related Uses

Medical and related uses includes a wide range of services such as GP surgeries, medical centres, primary medical care facilities, dentists, beauty and aesthetic clinics, vets etc. all of which comprise of similar design standards and requirements.

Premises for medical relates uses include a wide variety of building types, ranging from adaptations of domestic premises for single-handed practitioners to purpose-built premises for large group practices or units within a streetscape.

Dublin City Council will support the provision of medical related uses in urban villages and neighbourhood centres and within existing communities where appropriate.

Primary Care Centres usually require purpose-built structures and facilities, and these should primarily be facilitated in urban villages and neighbourhood centres.

In mixed-use developments, which include community, service and retail facilities at ground floor level, the use of a unit as a medical centre of an appropriate size which contributes to the vitality of the area will be supported.

Applications in these areas will be assessed on design criteria such as relationship with the street, accessibility to servicing, traffic management and shop front design criteria.

In assessing proposals for conversions in residential areas, Dublin City Council will normally permit conversion of part of a dwelling to a medical or related consultancy provided that a local need has been demonstrated; that it has been demonstrated and there is no adverse impacts to the residential amenities of adjacent dwellings and that adequate off street parking facilities.

Residential buildings do not, in general, lend themselves well to efficient use as medical consultancy practice. Also, the complete conversion of residential premises as a medical consultancy can have adverse impacts on the residential amenity of a residential area, such as security problems, which will be taken into consideration.

In certain circumstances, where there is a proven lack of such facilities in the local area; the property is of a sufficiently large size; the residential unit is located at an end of terrace or corner site; the proposal will be considered on its merits having regard to residential amenities of the local area. Generally converted house units for medical purposes should be located in close proximity to the entrance of the overall residential development with easy access.

15.14.7         Retail / Retail Services and Food and Beverage

This section sets out the development management standards for retail, food and beverage and leisure uses. The location of these services is usually within urban village centres as well the main city core.      Retail and Retail Services

For guidance regarding specific forms of retail development – please refer to Appendix 2 Retail Strategy.      Restaurants/Cafes

The positive contribution of café and restaurant uses and the clusters of such uses to the vitality of the city is recognised.

In considering applications for restaurants, the following will be taken into consideration:

  • The effect of noise, general disturbance, hours of operation and fumes on the amenities of nearby residents.
  • Traffic considerations.
  • Waste storage facilities.
  • Hours of operation.
  • The number/frequency of restaurants and other retail services in the area.
  • The contribution to the vitality and viability of the area.

For proposals relating to outdoor dining, applicants will be required to demonstrate whether temporary or permanent outdoor dining facilities are provided. These areas should be fully contained within the site boundary. Temporary dining should ensure all fixtures and fittings are fully removable outside operating hours and should not impede access or create undue clutter or trip hazard in the streetscape.

Permanent structures should be included in all plans and elevations submitted with the application. Details of ventilation and heating of the area will also be required.

See also Section 15.17.4 relating to outdoor seating and street furniture.      Fast Food/Takeaways

In order to maintain an appropriate mix of uses and protect night-time amenities in a particular area and to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle, it is the objective of Dublin City Council to prevent an excessive concentration of take-aways and to ensure that the intensity of any proposed take-away is in keeping with both the scale of the building and the pattern of development in the area.

The provision of such facilities will be strictly controlled, having regard to the following, where appropriate:

  • The effect of noise, general disturbance, hours of operation, litter and fumes on the amenities of nearby residents.
  • The need to safeguard the vitality and viability of shopping areas in the city and to maintain a suitable mix of retail uses.
  • Traffic impacts and considerations including set down areas and servicing bays.
  • The number/frequency of such facilities in the area within 1km of school sites. Any new outlets will not be permitted with 250m of a school sites.
  • That the operators come to a satisfactory arrangement with Dublin City Council in relation to litter control and that appropriate cleansing/anti-litter measurements be agreed with Dublin City Council prior to the granting of planning permission.
  • The need to integrate the design of ventilation systems into the design of the building.
  • That all take-aways provide and maintain a suitable waste bin outside their premises during hours of business.
  • The context and character of the street where the aim is to maintain and improve the vitality of the shopping experience by encouraging a range of convenience and/or comparison retail shops.      Noise, Odour, Ventilation for Restaurant / Café / Take – Away

Café, restaurant and take away uses should be designed having regard to the appropriate noise and ventilation guidelines. All ventilation proposals should avoid direct extracts at street level, where possible. Where extract odour and ventilation is required on main street frontages, careful design solutions should be provided to extract does not interfere with pedestrians and road users in terms of noise and odour.

Similarly, noise associated with the use of a café / restaurant / take away should be minimised as to ensure no overspill to street level occurs.

Café and restaurant proposals should include an engineering statement to address, noise, ventilation and odour as part of any planning applications.

15.14.8         Off Licences

In considering planning applications for off licence premises or extensions to existing off-licence premises, the following criteria shall be applied:

  • The context and character of the street where the aim is to maintain and improve the vitality of the shopping experience by encouraging a range of convenience and/or comparison retail shops.
  • The range of uses at ground floor in an area where the aim is to strengthen the retail character and ensure the proposal will not result in a proliferation of similar retail service outlets such as, internet cafés, call centres, bookmakers, takeaways, amusement arcades and car rentals resulting in a predominance of similar non-shop frontages.
  • The size of the proposed off-licence in the context of the size of premises in the area.
  • Where a part off licence is proposed as part of a convenience unit, that the floor area used for the display of alcohol products is subsidiary to the main use of the shop and that area in general should be no more than 10% of the total floor area.
  • The location of the display area of alcohol products shall be in an unobtrusive position, not near the entrance or windows of the shop and preferably to the rear of the premises.
  • The area for the display of alcohol products shall be detailed on the floor plans and the display of alcohol products shall be limited to this area only.
  • The area for the display of alcohol products should be secure and monitored.

In the case where a grant of planning permission is considered, the provision will be strictly regulated, and regard shall be given to the need to impose the following conditions:

  • Limiting the display area of alcohol products to that area of the shop only as detailed on the plans.
  • No advertising of the sale of alcohol products on the façade/frontage of the premises.
  • No display of alcohol products or advertising of the sale of alcohol products on or near both the entrance and the windows.

15.14.9         Betting Shops/Adult Store

It is an objective of Dublin City Council to prevent an over concentration of betting offices / adult stores in the city, thereby, ensuring the number of units in a city street, district or neighbourhood centre is not disproportionate to the overall number of community facilities and shop units. The provision of betting offices / adult stores will be controlled having regard to the following, where appropriate:

  • The need to safeguard the vitality and viability of shopping areas in the city and to maintain a suitable mix of retail uses.
  • The number/frequency of such facilities in the area.
  • The existing proliferation of similar retail service outlets in the area, such as internet cafés, call centres, take-aways, amusement arcades and car rentals.
  • The effect on the amenities of the area by reason of noise, hours of operation and litter.

15.14.10       Amusement Centres / Events

Amusement centres will not be permitted in residential areas and will only be appropriate in mixed-use areas where the proposed use is in keeping with both the scale of the building and the pattern of development in the area. It is an objective of Dublin City Council to prevent an excessive concentration of amusement centres.

There will be a presumption against the development of further dog racing tracks in the city.

15.14.11       Leisure Centre / Gym / Fitness Studios

Dublin City Council will support the provision of leisure centres, gym and fitness studio uses within the city. These fitness uses have the ability to add activity and animation to the streets outside normal working hours.

Applications for fitness related uses should, therefore, address the street frontage and avoid full manifestations on windows and doors. It is recognised that a balance needs to be struck between providing a level of privacy to the users and activity to the street, therefore, proposals for window signage and partial manifestations will be considered on a case by case basis.

Applicants will also be required to support active travel to these facilities and, therefore, should be located in close proximity to public transport services and cycling facilities. An assessment of noise and vibration will also be required where the proposal adjoins sensitive uses such as residential developments. See also Section 15.18.9.

15.14.12       Night Clubs/Licenced Premises/Casinos/ Private Member Clubs

In recognition of the importance of Dublin as a thriving and multi-dimensional capital city, there is a need to facilitate the concept of the 24-hour city, particularly in the city centre and other key urban villages.

Dublin City Council will encourage entertainment/cultural/music uses which help create an exciting city for residents and tourists alike.

There is a need to strike an appropriate balance between the role of these entertainment uses in the economy of the city and the following:

  • To maintain high-quality retail functions on the primary city centre streets and ensure a balanced mix of uses.
  • To protect the amenities of residents from an over-concentration of late night venues.
  • Noise emanating from and at the boundaries of these establishments are issues which will need to be addressed in planning applications for such establishments. Noise insulation and reduction measures, especially relating to any mechanical ventilation or air-conditioning, will be required to be submitted with any such planning application.
  • To minimise the impact and street presence of casinos / members clubs. Therefore, there will be a general presumption against inappropriate advertising for casinos / gambling/ members clubs.

The development of ‘superpubs’ will be discouraged and the concentration of pubs will be restricted in certain areas of the city where there is a danger of overconcentration of these to the detriment of other uses. In cases where new uses, including uses such as casinos and private members’ clubs, or extensions to the existing use are proposed, the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that such proposed development will not be detrimental to the residential, environmental quality or the established character and function of the area.

Matters that shall be taken into account by the planning authority in assessing planning proposals for these uses and extensions to such uses include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The amenity of neighbouring residents and occupiers.
  • Hours of operation.
  • Traffic management.
  • Shop frontage treatment and impact on streetscape.
  • Proposed signage.

15.14.13       Light Industrial, Warehousing and Business Park Development

Dublin City Council will seek to protect industrial and employment zoned lands (Objective Z 6 andZ7) from competing and incompatible landuses. Proposals for the development or extension of industrial, warehousing and business park developments will be required to provide for ancillary support services and facilities.

Business park developments comprising of large scale technology centres, light industrial units, warehousing units etc. will be required to incorporate 10% of open space area within the development for the use of the working population and members of the public outside working hours. The public open space should be accompanied by other ancillary services to serve the business park such as cafes, restaurants and convenience shops.

The following criteria will be considered in assessing applicants for such developments:

  • A high standard of design, finish, layout and landscaping will be required for industrial, warehousing and business park development.
  • Where proposals for these type of developments would generate a large volume of HGV traffic, they shall not be located where they would encourage movement of such traffic through residential areas.
  • It is essential that each industrial/ warehousing unit be provided with adequate space for the loading and unloading of goods (including fuels) in areas clear of the public road, and preferably behind the building line.
  • In the case of development for two or more industrial/warehousing buildings, a uniform design for boundary fences, roof profiles and building lines is essential.
  • Industrial, warehousing and business park developments should present a pleasant aspect, helped by tree planting, the careful design of signage, screening of open storage areas, and unobtrusive loading and parking space. Offices ancillary to factories, will be permitted provided the size is appropriate to the scale of the main use. In speculative developments, a variety of unit size shall be provided to cater for the differing needs of potential occupants.
  • In the case of proposed developments, which are of a nature and extent that they would impact on the environment and attract significant volumes of vehicular traffic to the development site, Dublin City Council will require the application to be accompanied by a Transport Assessment (TA) see Appendix 5.

15.14.14       Data Centres

Dublin City Council will support the provision of data centre in appropriate locations on a case by case basis.

Data centres require a large site area which can accommodate multiple configurations for large single users or multiple smaller sized data centres taking account of the projected demand for data storage in the future including expansion requirements and the economic and operational rationale for the clustering of data storage capacity on one site. The provision of phased masterplan approach to development would be appropriate on larger sites.

The following points shall be considered in accessing applications for data centres:

  • The extent of significant strategic communications infrastructure required, including international cable capacity and access to local fibre connectivity.
  • The extent of energy demand and proximity to multiple high voltage strategic grid connections with significant electricity supply capacity available including areas with high concentration of renewable energy electricity generators.
  • Access to and proximity to multiple sources of energy and natural resources i.e. including natural gas to support backup power systems and large water supply is essential for cooling.
  • The availability of appropriate infrastructure such as high voltage electricity, fibre optic cables etc. to support the use as a data centre. This should be provided as part of an engineering report on services.
  • Details of high levels of energy efficiency; maximises the use on-site renewable energy; captures and reuses waste heat;
  • Potential sites should be of low natural risk i.e. remote from any Seveso sites etc., geologically stable location and avoiding sites with any potential for contamination.
  • Provide evidence to sign-up to the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact.
  • Inclusion of an Architectural Design Statement which sets out the design intent and materials and finishes proposed for the development. The design and materials should be in keeping with the surrounding context and should fit comfortably within the streetscape / landscape.
  • Inclusion of a decommissioning report should also be included which sets out the development strategy for the site if and when the data centre is no longer in use, in order to bring the site back to a future developable state.

Petrol station

15.14.15       Petrol Stations

New petrol stations should be of quality design, considered with regard to streetscape and setting. Standard corporate design may need to be modified to ensure appropriate visual integration, and any forecourt canopy should be of appropriate scale. Petrol stations will only be permitted in residential areas, where it can be demonstrated that no significant damage to residential amenities will occur by reason of factors such as noise, visual obtrusion, safety considerations or fumes/ smells. Any car-washing/drying facilities should be sited so as not to cause nuisance. Hours of operation in residential areas will be limited to between 0600 hours and 2300 hours. In considering applications for development, the safety aspects of circulation and parking within the station forecourt will be taken into account, and relevant traffic safety standards set out in Appendix 5 should be complied with.     Lighting, Landscaping and Signage

Forecourt lighting, including canopy lighting, should be limited to that which is necessary for the safe operation of a petrol station. Landscaping shall be required to protect the amenity of the surrounding area and enhance the appearance of the development. Signs should be limited in number and integrated with buildings or other structures on site. A proliferation of signs, flags and bunting should also be avoided.     Ancillary Uses and Retailing

Retailing proposals in petrol stations shall be guided by advice contained in statutory Retail Planning Guidelines (DECLG 2012) and particularly Section 2.4.3 which refers to the retail floor-space cap of 100 sq. m. (net) for petrol stations.

Where permission is sought for floor-space in excess of 100 sq. m., the scale of any retail provision proposed will be assessed having regard to the proximity to other retail outlets, the sequential approach and the retail hierarchy.

15.14.16       ATM

The provision of automatic teller machines (ATMs) will be regulated, having regard to the following:

  • The protection of the character of the building or shopfront in which the ATM is installed, in particular, where the building is a protected structure or in a Conservation Area or Architectural Conservation Area (ACA).
  • The minimisation of disturbance to adjoining premises through queuing.
  • In general, no more than one ATM should be placed in a shopfront so as to avoid the creation of a dead frontage.
  • The control of the amount of litter generated by these machines; paper receipts will not be acceptable on principal shopping streets, at protected structures, and in Conservation Areas.
  • The need for signs or logos to be discreetly incorporated into the overall design.
  • The avoidance of a traffic hazard.
  • The design and location must be such that they are accessible to all, having regard to the universal design principles including those specifically for the visually impaired.

Dublin City Council will encourage the provision of ATMs in retail stores in the interests of public safety and protecting building character.

15.14.17       Laundromats and Parcel Motels

Facilities such as outdoor laundry/washing machines and parcel motels will be supported where it can be demonstrated that the design and location of same will have no adverse visual impacts or residential amenity of surrounding properties.

These facilities shall primarily be located in petrol station forecourts or ancillary to retail car parks.

Applicants should consider noise and traffic impacts associated with such facilities and ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to reduce any potential impact. Adequate parking and set down facilities should also be provided for these uses.

15.14.18       Pidgeon Lofts

Pidgeon lofts are typically located in residential areas or in community gardens.

Generally the policy guidance for pigeon lofts is that:

  • Lofts should be located as far as possible from neighbouring dwellings, in general a minimum of 5m from adjoining residential buildings.
  • They should be of sound construction and good quality and maintained in good condition.
  • The loft should not exceed 25sq.m in area and have a max height of 3m with a pitched roof and 2.5m with a flat roof
  • No allowance for an open loft i.e. where pigeons have free access at all times.

Street scene with people gathered outside the famous St. Patrick's Catherdral and Park

15.14.19       Places of Worship

Applications for places of worship will be considered on a case by case basis having regard to location of the site, proximity to other facilities and accessibility.

A traffic and transport assessment will be required as part of any planning application to demonstrate how the proposal will be accessed, the availability of public transport and a Travel Plan to manage any overflow traffic impacts, car parking and prioritise pedestrian and cycle movements – see Appendix 5.

15.15  Built Heritage and Archaeology

Dublin City Centre and its suburbs comprise a number of significant historic and other buildings, streetscapes and spaces which contribute to the character and heritage of the city. There are also a number of areas that fall within zones of archaeological interest. It is essential that new development in these historic and distinct areas respects the existing character, safeguards the historic setting of the streets and spaces and addresses built heritage and archaeology. In this regard, a series of development management standards are provided to guide new development in these areas and to ensure that our built heritage and archaeology are protected. The following section sets out the relevant guidelines and policies that apply to all new development and any extension or refurbishment in the historic areas or areas of significance in the city.

15.15.1         Archaeology

The definition of archaeological heritage includes structures, constructions, groups of buildings, developed sites, moveable objects, monuments of other kinds as well as their context, whether situated on land or under water, in accordance with the Valletta Convention, 1992. In order that the City Council’s policy on archaeology is implemented, the following shall apply:      Preparing Planning Applications

Applicants shall have regard to Archaeology in the Planning Process (Office of the Planning Regulator, 2021) and Archaeology and Development Guidelines Good Practices for Developers (Heritage Council, 2000).

All applications for proposed new developments at sites marked as Sites and/or Zones of Archaeological Interest identified on the development plan zoning maps shall be subject to pre application discussion/consultation with the Archaeology Office.

Where a site is located within a Zone of Archaeological Interest, an Archaeological Assessment as defined in National policy and guidelines shall be prepared in consultation with the City Archaeologist and provided as part of the planning application. The assessment will evaluate the archaeological potential of the site for and the impact of the proposed development on them.      Exempted Development

Exempted development does not apply to any development that would consist of or comprise the alteration of any archaeological site, the preservation or protection of which is an objective of the relevant local authority development plan.

Where a development site is within a Zone of Archaeological Interest, is over 0.5 hectares in size, or for linear developments more than 1km in length, the applicant shall employ a suitably qualified archaeologist to carry out an archaeological assessment in consultation with the City Archaeologist at pre-planning stage and report on any necessary site investigation works prior to an application being lodged.      Best Practice

All archaeological reports submitted with a planning application and/or prepared in compliance with planning permission shall be produced in accordance with Excavation Reports Guidelines for Authors, (NMS, 2006).

All development shall be carried out in accordance with the Framework and Principles for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage, 1999 and other National policy and guidelines for the archaeological heritage.

Archaeological work shall be carried out in accordance with current archaeological best practice policy and guidance published by the National Monuments Service, and with reference to technical guidelines issued by the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland and Transport Infrastructure Ireland. Where National technical best practice guidelines are unavailable, internationally recognised best practice guidance may apply.

Where archaeology services are incorporated into fixed priced contracts, the contract shall be prepared with regard to Standard and Guidance Procedures for Archaeological Services in Fixed Price Contracts used in the Republic of Ireland, (IAI, 2012).

Archaeological work shall be undertaken in accordance with the Policy and Guidelines on Archaeological Excavation, (NMS, 1999). All archaeological monitoring shall be done under licence.

Archaeological excavations shall comprise a specialist-led environmental site strategy and conducted in accordance with Environmental Sampling: Guidelines for Archaeologists, (IAI, 2007).      Basements

New basement development in the medieval core and known medieval sites shall be avoided. Approved basements may be rescinded where undue damage to in situ archaeological deposits will occur as a result.      Industrial Heritage

Archaeological assessments shall have regard to the Dublin City Industrial Heritage Record and evaluate any above and below ground industrial heritage features. Where industrial remains are identified, the application may be required to engage the services of an industrial heritage expert to prepare a specialist report.      Foundations

The impact and merits/demerits of foundation type and soil hydrology shall be archaeologically assessed to determine appropriate mitigation (including avoidance, redesign, etc.).      Archaeological Excavation

When planning permission for development involving sub-surface excavation is granted, the applicant’s attention will be drawn to the legal obligation to report the discovery of archaeological finds to the National Museum of Ireland.      Archaeological Mitigation

Where a site has tested positive for archaeology, in situ remains shall be evaluated for preservation in situ.

In situ medieval structures shall be carefully evaluated with the aim of preservation and presentation in situ within the new development.

Where preservation in situ is not feasible, sites of archaeological and/or industrial heritage interest shall be subject to a full archaeological excavation and post excavation analysis according to best practice in advance of redevelopment.

Where an excavation is the agreed mitigation strategy the licenced archaeological director shall submit bi-weekly briefing notes to the City Archaeologist for the full duration of the excavation. A preliminary excavation report in digital and hard copy shall be submitted to the planning authority for the attention of the City Archaeologist within four weeks of the completion of the excavation or of each phase of the excavation and a detailed final report submitted within twelve months of the completion of the excavation.

The results of all archaeological excavations shall be evaluated for publication either as a monograph or scholarly article, within 1 year after archaeological site completion. Information about medieval sites will be disseminated to the public through the Friends of Medieval Dublin or similar free event within 1 year of site completion.

The excavation archive shall be prepared in accordance with Dublin City Archaeological Archive (DCC, 2008) and submitted to the Dublin City Archaeological Archive within 1 year of excavation completion.      Preservation In Situ

Where a proposed development is at a known Monument / Site or within an Archaeological Zone, discussions about the retention of features within / below developments (preservation in situ) and mitigation options shall take place at the outset of project planning and shall be reviewed at each stage of the project.

Before considering whether an archaeological site can be appropriately retained within a development (preserved in situ), the following shall be addressed:

  1. The current state of preservation of the archaeological finds and deposits and how they contribute to the site’s significance.
  2. The likely development and how these will affect the site’s significance.
  3. For sites containing waterlogged archaeological remains, the availability and quality of water on the site and how sensitive this hydrological regime is to changes.

Preservation assessments shall form a discrete part of desk-based assessments and site evaluation reports.

Consideration shall be given to the impact of any development proposal on waterlogged deposits that could be potentially threatened through changes to the hydrological regime, water levels and quality.

Test excavations shall be carried out to investigate and evaluate the deposits and the artefacts they contain in sufficient detail to establish their significance, their state of preservation and their susceptibility to adverse impact from proposed development.

Preservation assessments (including characterisation of the environmental conditions of the deposits) to form a regular part of the evaluation methodology for sites where retention within the development is likely to be the final mitigation outcome.

When the state of preservation of material is poor, and further burial following development is likely to cause additional damage to that material, excavation of the archaeological remains to recover their remaining significance and evidential value is the most appropriate strategy.

Where sites contain waterlogged archaeological remains, water environment studies to determine water availability and water stresses may be required.

If the condition of surviving material and deposits is good and development risks are not going to cause a change to below ground environments (including site hydrology), then harm to significance may be limited. In these instances, the retention of the site and its future management as part of the development may be achievable. For such sites, monitoring will not normally be necessary.

Where there is concern about potential impacts of development on well preserved archaeological remains, it is good practice for monitoring to only be considered appropriate if a mitigation scheme is in place to manipulate water levels or provide access for future excavation if environmental conditions deteriorate.     Piling and Archaeology

Where piling is being considered as part of a foundation design on a site containing archaeological remains, a range of site-specific information will be needed to enable sound decision taking with regard to the particular technical issues raised by the use of piled foundations.

  • The applicant shall provide sufficient information demonstrating an adequate understanding of the significance of the archaeological site and assessment of potential harm to that significance arising from the development.
  • The planning application shall include an appropriate desk-based assessment and where necessary the site will be evaluated by way of archaeological testing in advance of the grant of permission.
  • Sufficient geotechnical site investigation shall be undertaken in accordance with Eurocode 7, early in the design process to ensure that appropriate engineering information is available to allow for a flexible foundation design and reduce the impact on archaeological remains.
  • The developer shall consider foundation options and inform the piling contractors that archaeological remains are present on site before they tender.

Technical aspects associated with piled foundations will be appropriately assessed. These include but are not necessarily limited to:

  1. The potential for the particular pile type utilised to damage archaeological deposits.
  2. The cumulative impact of successive piling on a site resulting in damage to so much of a site that future re-examination would not be worthwhile.
  3. The potential for piling to change the site hydrology, draining waterlogged deposits.     Recording of Historic Buildings

Buildings on the first edition OS that are not protected structures shall be recorded as part of the archaeological assessment that accompanies the planning application. Appropriate specifications for the recording of historic buildings will be determined in consultation with the City Archaeologist. Records of historic buildings will inform decisions relating to the approval or implementation of a scheme of development as part of the planning process or to document buildings, or parts of buildings, which will be lost as a result of demolition or alteration.

15.15.2         Built Heritage      Architectural Conservation Areas

There are currently 24 Architectural Conservation Areas (ACA’s) within the city as identified in Chapter 11 and as indicated as a green hatch on the zoning maps. Development in these zones must respect the existing character of the area and protect and enhance the setting and appearance of the streetscape and / or protected features. Details on the requirements for development within ACA’s are set out in Policy BHA 07 and BHA 08 as set out in Chapter 11 as well as in the specific Framework for each ACA accessed in the link below:

Many Architectural Conservation Areas (ACA’s) contain significant groupings of protected structures, streetscapes and views and vistas of significance as well as buildings that individually may be of local significance, but collectively would have a greater significance as a group.

Larger scale applications within or immediately adjacent to an ACA will need to provide an assessment, carried out by a suitably qualified conservation professional, of the impact of the development on the ACA the streetscape and the buildings in the immediate vicinity and demonstrate that there will be no material, adverse impact arising. Such an assessment should be accompanied by appropriate drawings, imagery and photomontages of the site and the surrounding context to assist the planning authority in assessing the impacts of the development.      Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas include Z8 (Georgian Conservation Area) and Z2 (Residential Conservation Area) zones, as well as areas identified in a red hatching on the zoning maps which form part of the development plan. These red-hatch areas do not have a specific statutory protection but contain areas of extensive groupings of buildings, streetscapes, features such as rivers and canals and associated open spaces of historic merit which all add to the special historic character of the city.

All planning applications for development in Conservation Areas shall:

  • Respect the existing setting and character of the surrounding area.
  • Be cognisant and/ or complementary to the existing scale, building height and massing of the surrounding context.
  • Protect the amenities of the surrounding properties and spaces.
  • Provide for an assessment of the visual impact of the development in the surrounding context.
  • Ensure materials and finishes are in keeping with the existing built environment.
  • Positively contribute to the existing streetscape Retain historic trees also as these all add to the special character of an ACA, where they exist.

Further guidance on Conservation Areas is set out in Chapter 11 Section 11.5.3      Protected Structures

There are almost 8,500 protected structures in the city, as identified on the Record of Protected Structures, Volume 2 of the plan. The inclusion of a structure in the Record of Protected Structures does not prevent a change of use of the structure, and/or development of, and/or extension to the structure, provided that the impact of any proposed development does not adversely affect the character of the Protected Structure and its setting. Conservation is the careful and sensitive management of change and DCC would support new proposals to conserve, repair and adapt Protected Structures to ensure they stay in long term sustainable use.

Any works which materially affect the character of a Protected Structure require planning permission. Some works may be considered exempted development where they do not materially affect the character of the building or those elements of the structure that contribute to its special interest.

A Section 57 Declaration may be requested from the Planning Authority in relation to the type of works that it considers would or would not materially affect the character of the structure or of any element of special interest of the structure. Separately, a Section 5 Declaration can be sought from the Planning Authority to establish if specific works (such as repairs and other modest works) proposed would be considered exempted development (i.e. would not materially affect the character of the structure or any element of special interest of the structure).

A Protected Structure, unless otherwise stated, includes the interior of the structure, the land lying within the curtilage of the structure, any other structures (and their interiors) lying within that curtilage. The protection also extends to any features specified as being within the attendant grounds including boundary treatments.

Works to a protected structure should be carried out in accordance with the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2011) and the Conservation Advice Series published by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

All planning applications for development/works to Protected Structures must provide the appropriate level of documentation, including an Architectural Heritage Impact Assessment, in accordance with Article 23 (2) of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 (as amended) and chapter 6 and appendix B of the ‘Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities’ (2011), to assist in the assessment of proposals.

This report should be prepared by an accredited conservation architect or equivalent conservation professional/expert (a useful list of suitably qualified professionals is available on the Irish Georgian Society and RIAI websites). The report should:

  • Outline the significance of the building(s) or structure(s) and their settings and an assessment of how the proposed works would impact on that significance.
  • Include a detailed drawn survey of the building/structure identifying all surviving original/early and later features that may contribute to its significance and associated photographic survey.
  • Include a conservation focused method statement and specification of works.
  • Details of proposed works should be clearly identified on the accompanying survey drawings by way of colour coding and/or annotated notes to distinguish clearly between the existing structure, the proposed works including demolition of existing fabric and/or features. The colour coding should also show the provenance of the historic building, including identification of the various stages of its development, identifying original, historic and later intervention.

The detail required to be submitted will be dependent on the significance of the building and the nature and extent of works proposed. It may be of benefit to discuss specific requirements, with an Architectural Conservation Officer, prior to making a planning application; through the pre-planning consultation process.

In assessing proposed development works (inclusive of extensions, alterations, change of use. etc.) to a Protected Structure, the Planning Authority will ensure compliance with the policies, objectives and provisions of Chapter 11, Section 11.5.1 of this plan.      Retention and Re-use of Older Buildings of Significance which are not Protected

Our built heritage is rich and varied. Much of our built heritage is not protected nor located within an ACA.

The re-use of buildings/structures of significance is a central element in the conservation of the built heritage of the city and important to the achievement of sustainability.

In assessing applications to demolish buildings/structures of significance that are not protected, the planning authority will actively seek the retention and re-use of buildings and other structures of architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, technical, social and/or local interest or those that make a positive contribution to the character and identity of streetscapes and the sustainable development of the city; also having regard to Policies BHA 05: Demolition of Regional Rated Buildings on NIAH and BHA 06: Buildings on Historic Maps. Where the planning authority accepts the principle of demolition, a detailed written and photographic inventory of the building may be required for record purposes.      Historic Buildings and Access

In assessing planning applications which relate to protected structures, regard shall be had to the protected status of the structure and the need to protect its special character. Detailed advice is provided in the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (re-issued by DAHG, 2011) and in Access – Improving the Accessibility of Historic Buildings and Places (Advice Series, DAHG, 2011). There is a need for flexibility in the use of protected structures and in making them accessible to people with disabilities, whilst respecting their architectural integrity.      Barrier Free Access and Protected Structures

The creation of barrier free access to protected structures can be difficult to reconcile. Where access devices are proposed, the following information should be submitted:

  • An assessment of the building’s access requirements, including details on the circulation and user requirements of the building.
  • An assessment of the impact of access devices on the special character and setting of the protected structure, particularly where architectural details such as plinths, thresholds, steps, staircases and railings, which contribute to the special interest of the building, are involved.
  • An assessment of alternative design options considered to ensure the proposal would represent the most sensitive access solution available.
  • Details of the materials and specifications of both permanent and temporary devices which should be appropriate to the location so as to reduce the visual impact of the mechanism.

Creative architectural responses which represent the most sensitive access solution will be actively encouraged. Proposals should be so designed to ensure the device can be removed without damage to the fabric of the building, where possible i.e. reversible. In certain cases, it may be necessary to locate such devices on/in less significant parts of the building. All works should retain the maximum amount of historic fabric in situ and should be designed to cause minimum interference to the historic building fabric and reduce the visual impact of the mechanism.      Fire Safety Works and Protected Structures

Fire protection works to protected structures relate directly to the use and requirements of a building and can have a significant impact on the character of a protected structure and require planning permission, if they give rise to significant impacts and/or alter the character of the protected structure.

When considering proposals for fire safety measures, a strategic approach to fire protection works to the building will be encouraged. Uses which may diminish the special interest of a protected structure through inappropriate alterations will generally not be encouraged. Applications for fire protection works shall be guided by the principles of minimum intervention to the historic fabric and the reversibility of alterations, where achievable.      Lighting of Protected Structures and Buildings in Conservation Areas

Well-designed exterior lighting of landmark buildings, structures and spaces can play an important role in defining the character of the built heritage. A successful lighting scheme will relate to the architectural form of the building and will sensitively utilise the detailing and features of such buildings with low wattage and/or dimmable light sources in an appropriate colour, and discreet light fixtures. It will also minimise the spillage of potential obtrusive light to adjacent areas and will avoid unnecessary over lighting, which can alter the appearance of a building or area.

In considering applications for lighting schemes, the need for such schemes should be clearly established. Proposals for lighting schemes should include details of the size, type, siting, and number of fixtures and fixing methods, as well as wattage, colour of light source, light pattern and potential impact on the building material and features, and include visualisations to demonstrate the intended effects.

To avoid conflict, proposals should demonstrate how lighting schemes would enhance and protect the character of an area or group of protected structures and/ or co-ordinate with any adjacent lighting schemes. Powerful wide-angled over-lighting which can diminish the architectural features of a building, its setting or surrounding area will be discouraged. Lighting schemes may not be appropriate in certain residential areas, as the spillage of light from lighting schemes can impact on the amenities of such areas.

15.16  Sustainable Movement and Transport

Sustainable and efficient movement of people and goods is crucial for the success and vitality of the city. The Plan seeks to promote ease of movement within and around the city as well as playing a key role in safeguarding the environment and adapting to the impacts of climate change. This policy approach promotes the integration of land use and transportation, improved public transport and active travel infrastructure, an increased shift towards sustainable modes of travel and an increased focus on public realm and healthy place-making. This Plan also looks to the future of mobility in the city including the increasing role of shared mobility schemes, micro mobility options, electric vehicles and the application of technology in the mobility sector.

Within this framework, a number of development standards are set out which are applicable to all developments. Details of these standards are set out in Appendix 5 in relation to:

  • Access and Design Standards;
  • Traffic and Transport Assessments;
  • Mobility Management and Travel Planning;
  • Service Delivery and Access Strategy;
  • Design and Construction Standards and Processes for Roads and Footpaths;
  • Cycle and Car Parking Standards and Management.

15.17  Public Realm

15.17.1         Public Facilities

Dublin City Council will support the provision of public facilities (e.g. public toilets and water fountains) within the public realm of the city. Large scale developments that seek to create new urban quarters and will be subject to taking in charge, will be encouraged to provide publically accessible facilities to support the functionality of these spaces.

The City Council will also encourage the provision of public facilities in the upgrade and improvement of existing public facilities, streets and spaces.

The design of public toilets should:

  • Be located in a busy and visible position to deter anti-social behaviour.
  • Have a level threshold or be accessible by ramp.
  • Include facilities for cleaning.
  • Consider the security and management of the facility with an attendant’s room strongly recommended as the best protection against antisocial behaviour. CCTV coverage can also be used but it should also be ensured that the privacy of users is not compromised.
  • Ensure all construction and fittings are secure, robust and vandal and graffiti resistant.
  • Avoid the provision of turnstiles that impede access.
  • Consider the provision of showers in some locations e.g. close to a beach.
  • Clearly signed with adequate direction signage in the surrounding area.
  • Provide a minimum of one wheelchair accessible unit and one unisex unit.
  • Provide baby changing facilities.

15.17.2         Public Lighting

Public lighting assists in providing a safe and secure environment. The Council will ensure that public lighting is appropriately and sensitively designed in order to balance the requirement for adequate lighting with amenity and environmental considerations (see Section 9.5.9 of the development plan). Where significant lighting proposals are proposed, the applicant must demonstrate that the quality environment in the surrounding area is not impacted and set out details of light levels and mitigation measures as necessary.

The provision of public lighting, including on public roads, shall be provided in accordance with the requirements of with the latest Public Lighting Standards IS EN13201 and further updates and should be designed to minimise the impact on protected species, such as light sensitive bat species in accordance with best practice, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Bat Mitigation Guidelines for Ireland (2006) and Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) Guidance Note 08/18 on Bats and artificial lighting in the UK (2018).

Applications for new roads and / or public spaces should ensure that the area is appropriately lit for accessibility and safety. Development proposals for public lighting shall include:

  • Details of the column height, siting and location of the lighting.
  • Details of the specific lantern type and design.
  • Details of lighting specification including lighting class, lux levels and energy efficiencies.
  • Site lighting report to assess the impact of light overspill to the surrounding area. Site lighting should also be considered throughout construction period and the impact on the surrounding properties. Details of such should be included in the construction management plan.

15.17.3         Public Art

Public art can make a positive contribution to the cultural identity and visual appearance of an area and can be utilised to identify historic events and features adding to the quality and engagement of the public realm. The provision of artwork on hoarding will also be supported in accordance with the requirements as set out below. New public artwork should integrate with its immediate location and the context of the surrounding environment.

Proposals for public artwork should:

  • Consider scale, form and impact on the public realm, pedestrians and road users.
  • Illustrate a comprehensive understanding of site considerations, and the physical, social, historical, topographical and architectural context.
  • Provide for the highest aesthetic quality in terms of materials and finishes with low maintenance value.
  • Engage with the local community to enhance social relevance and significance.

15.17.4         Outdoor Seating and Street Furniture

Certain uses in the public realm, including elements of street furniture, can lead to problems of visual clutter and to obstruction of public footpaths for pedestrians, in particular people with disabilities. These elements include newspaper stands, telephone kiosks, traffic and bus signs etc. It is an objective of Dublin City Council to control the location and quality of these structures in the interests of creating a high-quality public domain.

All street furniture provided by private operators including retailers, publicans and restaurateurs, etc., and utility companies should be to the highest quality, preferably of good contemporary design avoiding poor historic imitation and respect the overall character of the area and quality of the public realm and be so located to prevent any obstruction or clutter of all footpaths and paved areas including landings.

In this regard, street furniture requires either a licence under Section 254 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) or planning permission (including street furniture erected on private lands). In both instances, the applicant is required to submit details of the location, design, specification and quality of the proposed elements of street furniture. Details of maintenance and cleansing schedules, together with a certificate of structural stability, may also be required. Street furniture should be designed to be accessible to disabled persons where possible.

In considering applications for outdoor furniture, the planning authority shall have regard to the following:

  • Size and location of the facility.
  • Concentration of existing street furniture in the area.
  • The visual impact of the structure, particularly in relation to the colour, nature and extent of advertising on all ancillary screens.
  • Impact on the character of the streetscape.
  • The effects on the amenities of adjoining premises, particularly in relation to hours of operation, noise and general disturbance.
  • Impact on access and visibility.

15.17.5         Shopfront and Façade Design

Shopfront design plays a key part in contribution to the quality of the public realm. Attractive facades and shopfronts have the ability to rejuvenate the streetscape and create an attractive public realm environment.

Shopfront signage should:

  • Be located at fascia level.
  • In the case of shop blinds, comprise traditional retractable canvas awning signs of Shopfronts and Other Business Premises.
  • The signage relating to any commercial ground floor use should be contained within the fascia board of the shopfront.
  • The lettering employed should be either on the fascia, or consist of individually mounted solid letters mounted on the fascia. The size of the lettering used should be in proportion to the depth of the fascia board.
  • Signage internal to the premises, including interior suspended advertising panels, which obscure views into the shop or business and create dead frontage onto the street shall not normally be permitted.
  • Corporate signs will only be permitted where they are compatible with the character of the building, its materials and colour scheme and those of adjoining buildings.
  • Advertisements and signs relating to uses above ground floor level should generally be provided at the entrance to the upper floors, in a form and design which does not detract from or impinge upon the integrity of the ground floor shopfronts, or other elevation features of the building.
  • Shopfronts sponsored by commercial brands will generally not be permitted.

Proposals for shopfront signage shall have regard to the contents of the Retail Design Manual, 2012, Dublin City Council’s Shopfront Design Guide, 2001 and the O’Connell Street Area Shopfront Design Guidelines, 2003, where appropriate.

For further information on advertising and signage, please refer to Appendix 17.

15.18  Environmental Management

15.18.1         Construction Management

All developments comprising 30 or more housing units and commercial developments (as well as institutional, educational, health and other public facilities) in excess of 1,000 sq. m. should be accompanied by a preliminary construction management plan. In the event of a grant of permission, and on appointment of a contractor, a final construction management plan will be required to be agreed with the Planning Authority.

Demolition/renovation/refurbishment projects generating in excess of 100 cubic metres in volume of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste; and Civil engineering projects which generate in excess of 500 cubic metres of waste materials used for development works on the site should also be accompanied by Construction Management Plans.

The construction management plan shall set out the details of the on-site operations including traffic management (site access, deliveries and maintenance and staff parking), waste management, environmental impacts such as noise, air quality, vibrations and any other relevant detail associated with the development. Where appropriate, excavated material from development sites is to be reused on the subject site.

The construction management plan should set out a clear timeline for the development, and details of the relevant on site contact for liaison with surrounding residents and businesses. For large construction projects (30 or more residential units of 1,000 sq. m. of commercial development), details of the site contact should be circulated to the local community, and where appropriate resident monitoring committees established for the duration of the project in order to promote best construction management and considered construction practices to protect the amenities of adjacent properties. The plan should consider the potential cumulative impacts of any adjacent development project under construction or planned for construction within the timeframe of the project, and set out appropriate mitigation measures to manage such cumulative impacts.

In reviewing construction management plans, the planning authority will have regard to the following:

  • Hours of operation.
  • Construction/phasing programme.
  • Community Liaison Strategy
  • Traffic Management Plan including employee parking and movements.
  • Noise, Vibration, Air Quality and Dust Monitoring and Mitigation Measures.
  • Cumulative impacts.
  • Details of any construction lighting including appropriate mitigation measures for lighting specifically designed to minimise impacts to biodiversity, including bats.
  • The management of construction and demolition waste included as part of a Construction and Demolition Waste Management Plan
  • Containment of all construction-related fuel and oil within specially constructed bunds to ensure that fuel spillages are fully contained (such bunds shall be roofed to exclude rainwater).
  • A water and sediment management plan, providing for means to ensure that surface water runoff is controlled such that no silt or other pollutants enter local water courses or drains.
  • Details of a water quality monitoring and sampling plan.
  • Measures adopted during construction to prevent the spread of invasive species (such as Japanese Knotweed).      Construction Traffic Management Plan

A Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) is a key document that aims to reduce possible impacts which may occur during the construction period of a proposed development. An applicant/developer is responsible for ensuring construction activities are managed in accordance with the CTMP.

Objectives and measures should be included for the management, design and construction of the proposed development to control the traffic impacts of construction insofar as it may affect the environment, local residents and the public in the vicinity of the construction works.

Where demolition is taking place on site prior to the commencement of construction, a separate demolition construction traffic management plan is required.

A Preliminary Construction Traffic Management Plan may be required during the Development Management process to ensure the feasibility of construction on constrained or restricted sites. Cumulative impacts with adjacent development sites should also be considered.

A CTMP is subject to ongoing reviews of construction traffic management and liaison by the contractor/developer with Dublin City Council’s Roadworks Control Section throughout the period of construction. Where multiple sites are within close proximity of each other and residential housing, developers may be required to coordinate and update their CTMP in consultation with DCC and with adjoining landowners; and also participate in a traffic and construction management group coordinated by DCC. The contractor/developer shall apply for all necessary licenses and permits where required.      Considered Construction

Considered Construction seeks to improve the image of the construction industry which requires registered contractors to commit to care about appearance, respect the community, protect the environment, secure everyone’s safety and value their workforce.

Dublin City Council will support the provision of considered construction in all planning applications. Commitment to the scheme should be identified as part of the Construction Management Plan submitted with planning applications.      Phasing

Dublin City Council may also require developers to submit a phasing and implementation programme for large developments including commercial development in excess of 5,000 sq. m. and residential schemes in excess of 100 units, to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the construction of the development.

A phasing proposal should be included within the construction management plan submitted with applications for agreement with the planning authority.      Hours of Operation

On sites where noise generated by construction would seriously affect residential amenity, the site and building works must be carried out between 0700 and 1800 hours Monday to Friday only, and between 0800 and 1400 hours on Saturdays only. No works shall be carried out on Sundays or bank holidays.

However, deviation from these times may be permitted in exceptional circumstances, where prior written approval has been received from Dublin City Council. Such approval may be given subject to conditions pertaining to the particular circumstances being set by Dublin City Council.

15.18.2         Waste Management

All planning applications in excess of 30 or more residential units and / or 1,000 sq. m. of commercial development shall be accompanied by both and Construction and Operational Waste Management Plan.

The construction waste management plan may form part of the overall construction management plan and shall detail the strategy in relation to on site waste storage, segregation and disposal. Development proposals shall recycle demolition material and re-use existing building materials where possible. In all developments of 30 or more housing units or commercial developments in excess of 1,000 sq. m, a materials source and management plan showing type of materials / proportion of re use/ recycled materials to be used shall be implemented by the developer.

The operational waste management plan shall set out the strategy for waste collection, storage and recycling. All applications shall clearly identify the waste storage and collection points and detail the anticipated waste collection schedule having regard to the impact on road users both within the development and the surrounding area. See also Appendix 7 for further details.

15.18.3         Recycling Facilities

Public recycling facilities (textile & glass bottles) etc. should be provided in all large scale retail developments, such as supermarkets, discount foodstores over 1,000 sq. m. Please also refer to Policy SI31 ‘Provision of Public Recycling Facilities in Large Retail Developments’.

Recycling facilities with the potential to create significant impact on amenity to adjoining properties/sites must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the planning authority that such impact will be controlled to an acceptable level.

In some cases, measures such as site redesign, provision of noise insulation or perimeter landscape buffers, containment of yard operations within a building, or comprehensive boundary treatment may help control potential negative externalities.

15.18.4         Basements

In recent years, there has been a significant growth in new basement development and extensions to existing basements. Basements can provide valuable additional space for purposed uses such as leisure and storage. However, basements can affect the environment and nearby structures in a number of ways e.g. geological, hydrological and hydrogeological impacts.

It is the policy of Dublin City Council to generally discourage any significant underground or basement development or excavations below ground level of, or adjacent to, residential properties in Conservation Areas or to protected structures. Development of basements for residential use below the estimated flood levels for flood zone areas ‘Zone A’ or ‘Zone B’ will not be permitted (Policy SI20).

It is the policy of the City Council that a Basement Impact Assessment (BIA) shall accompany all planning applications that include a basement. A basement or underground development is considered as being an accessible area positioned below the existing street level or ground level and would include any works that will remain permanently in the ground, such as embedded wall construction below the base of the accessible area.

Detailed guidance is set out in Appendix 9 regarding the content and scope to be considered in the preparation of a Basement Impact Assessment.

15.18.5         Telecommunications and Digital Connectivity

All new developments will be required to provide for open access connectivity arrangements directly to individual premises to enable service provider competition and consumer choice in line with Policy SI45 of the development plan.

The provision and siting of telecommunications antennae shall take account of the Telecommunications Antennae and Support Structures – Guidelines for Planning Authorities, (Department of Environment and Local Government, 1996), as revised by DECLG Circular Letter PL 07/12, and any successor guidance.

Telecommunications antennae and supporting structures should preferably be located on industrial estates or on lands zoned for industrial/employment uses. Possible locations in commercial areas, such as rooftop locations on tall buildings, may also be acceptable, subject to visual amenity considerations. In terms of the design of free-standing masts, masts and antennae should be designed for the specific location.

In assessing proposals for telecommunication antennae and support structures, factors such as the object in the wider townscape and the position of the object with respect to the skyline will be closely examined. These factors will be carefully considered when assessing proposals in a designated conservation area, open space amenity area, historic park, or in the vicinity of protected buildings, special views or prospects, monuments or sites of archaeological importance. The location of antennae or support structures within any of these areas or in proximity to protected structures, archaeological sites and other monuments should be avoided.

Where existing support structures are not unduly obtrusive, the City Council will encourage co-location or sharing of digital connectivity infrastructure such as antennae on existing support structures, masts and tall buildings (see Policy SI47). Applicants must satisfy the City Council that they have made every reasonable effort to share with other operators.

15.18.6         Plant Machinery

Where required, the scale of plant at roof level should be minimised and have a suitable finish or screening so that it is discreet and unobtrusive. Plant, flues and lift overruns should not be included in the height of the building, as long as they are set back and properly screened and do not significantly add to the shadowing or otherwise of natural light beyond that of the main structure. Where plant rooms are highly visible, and occupy the majority of roof space, the impact of such will be assessed similar to an additional floor.

15.18.7         Renewable Energy

Development proposals will be encouraged to utilise renewable energy sources such as wind energy where feasible. Applicant should assess the feasibility of alternative energy sources as part of the energy statement submitted with the application.

In accordance with policy CA10 and CA11, the provision of on-site and micro energy production wind energy sources in industrial area and business parks will be assessed on a case by case basis where it can be demonstrated that:

  • The amenity obtained by surrounding properties shall not be affected.
  • The visual impact of the provision of such facilities should also be assessed in the context of the surrounding environment as to ensure the visual amenity of the area is protected.

15.18.8         Solar Energy

Solar or PV panels allow solar energy to be utilised in the ongoing operation of a building. In line with NZEB requirements, Dublin City Council will require all new developments to provide for solar panelling / PV panels to contribute to the energy generation in a building where feasible.

For individual dwelling units, homeowners can utilise solar thermal panels that produce hot water and photovoltaic panels that produce electricity. Solar systems can be installed in the roof space of a dwelling similar to roof lights. Any solar thermal panels that are installed on or in roofs should not unduly dominate the roof and should be sensitive to the character, colour and style of the existing roof. The Planning and Development Regulations 2007 (S.1 No. 83 of 2007) set out planning exemptions for micro-renewable energy technologies for domestic houses including solar panels, heating systems and wind turbines.

Please refer to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Best Practice Guide to Photovoltaics (PV) for full details on the design and requirements for PV.

Large scale proposals for solar panels or any development in the vicinity of the airport will be required to submit a Glint and Glare Assessment. Domestic applications will be assessed on a case by case basis. All large scale proposals involving for solar panels shall be sent to Irish Aviation Authority as part of the statutory consultee process.

15.18.9         Noise

Dublin City Council will have regard to the Dublin Agglomeration Noise Action Plan 2018–2023 when assessing planning applications (see also Section 9.5.8: Noise Pollution). Where it is considered that a proposed development is likely to create a disturbance due to noise, a condition may be imposed by the planning authority on any planning permission limiting the hours of operation and level of noise generation.

Development proposals for residential development within designated noise zones, such as Dublin Airport Aircraft Noise Zones or which may generate noise sensitive activities should be accompanied by a noise impact assessment to analyse the potential noise impact on the development proposal. The applicant is required to demonstrate good acoustic design has been followed to mitigate against any potential noise impacts. Airport Noise Zone C is partially located within the Dublin City Council administrative boundary. For further details and map based information, see Fingal County Development Plan 2017-2023 Variation 1.

Construction noise assessment should form part of the construction management plan and set out clear mitigation measures in place throughout the entire construction phase.

Operational noise should be assessed as part of the planning application to determine whether the proposed use of the development will impact on the ambient noise levels of the surrounding environment. Appropriate sound proofing and noise mitigation measure should be provided where necessary.

15.18.10       Air Quality

All developments during construction and operational stage shall ensure that the air quality of the surrounding area is not effected (see also Section 9.5.7). Details of the air quality controls in place throughout construction shall be identified in the construction management plan.

As part of the operational management of a proposal, applicants are required to facilitate air extraction / ventilation units and other associated plant and services through the use of internal ducting. Details of such proposals shall be set out in planning applications as part of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering details.

15.18.11       Ground Investigation

Any development containing significant excavation including the construction of a basement or any development on brownfield lands should include a ground investigation report to be submitted with an application. This will determine the best practice design based on the soil composition. Where lands are considered unstable or infilled, a strategy for the support and or removal of underground lands shall be provided as part of a planning application.

15.18.12       Ground Contamination

Due to a mixture of historic industrial land-uses and land reclamation, there are a number of locations in the city where contaminated land could cause an environmental problem.

Any contaminated land will require appropriate remediation prior to redevelopment, including, in some instances, removal of material from a site which may require a licence under the Waste Management Act, 1996, as amended, prior to the undertaking of such works (see Section 9.5.6). In all cases involving contaminated land, it is the policy of Dublin City Council to require the highest standards of remediation and where appropriate to consult with the Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant bodies to resolve the environmental pollution created by contaminated land.

Where the previous history of a site suggests that contamination may have occurred, developers will be responsible for the following:

  • Undertaking a detailed site investigation, soil testing and analysis to establish whether contamination has occurred.
  • Providing a detailed written report of investigation and assessment (including recommendations for treating the affected ground) to Dublin City Council.
  • The decontamination of sites prior to new development works taking place, and the prohibition of development until Dublin City Council is satisfied that the affected ground has been satisfactorily treated.
  • Decontamination activities should ensure that there is no off-site migration of contaminants via run-off, soils or groundwater.

15.18.13       Seveso

Appendix 8 contains the list of COMAH Establishments (SEVESO III sites) where the Health and Safety Authority must be contacted by the planning authority for technical advice prior to a decision being made on proposed development in the vicinity of these sites (see also Section 9.5.10).

15.18.14       Flood Risk Management

All applications for developments in flood risk areas shall have regard to the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment of this plan. All applications within flood zones A and B will be required to submit a Site-Specific Flood Risk Assessment to an appropriate level of detail (see Policy SI15 and SI16).

Potential applicants should ensure consideration of residual risk without regard to any existing flood protection structures. Dublin City Council will assess planning applications with regard to the vulnerability classes of land-use and development types in accordance with the national guidelines. Potential applicants should refer to these and demonstrate adherence to them.

In relation to rivers, potential applicants should give consideration to potential river channel impacts, adhere to the Inland Fisheries Ireland guidance and ensure access for wildlife to the river where possible.

15.18.15       Airport Safety Zones

Airport safety zones are indicated on the zoning maps associated with the development plan written statement. Dublin City Council will continue to take account of the advice of the Irish Aviation Authority with regard to the effects of any development proposals on the safety of aircraft or the safe and efficient navigation thereof. Planning applications for any proposals that may be developed in the environs of the airport to the Irish Aviation Authority and DAA in accordance with the Obstacle Limitation Requirements of Regulation (EU) No 139 / 2014 (EASA Certification Specifications), previously required under ICAO Annex 14, and which are depicted on the aerodrome operator’s map as indicated as part of Fingal County Development Plan 2017-2023 Variation 1.

Development proposals located within Airport Public Safety Zones shall reflect the guidance set out in the ERM Report “Public Safety Zones, 2005” (or any update thereof).

Evening skyline Dublin


[1] Additional information in respect to ensuring that a development is ‘District Heating Enabled’ is provided can be found in the Dublin City Council ‘Dublin District Heating System Technical Information Pack for Developments’ which is available for download at:

[2] A student means a person who is registered with a third-level educational institution which is designated as such by the Department of Education and Science or by ACELS (Accreditation and Co-ordination of English Language Services) under the auspices of the DES.