The recent announcement that the former Glass Bottle Site i.e. Poolbeg West is to become a strategic development zone ("SDZ") is good news for the supply of housing in Dublin. It is hoped that the scheme will be announced later this year and that the public consultation process will begin over the coming weeks.
SDZs are essentially prescribed planning schemes produced by planning authorities and development agencies to deliver schemes to meet important social and economic needs on foot of a ministerial order to create them. The powers afforded to the planning authorities in respect of SDZs are wide ranging and comprehensive and include the power to acquire land in the designated SDZ.
Developers intending on acquiring sites in SDZs or applying for planning permission on such sites can get through the planning process relatively quickly and provided with an level of certainty that their applications will be granted provided they meet the parameters of the scheme as set out by the planning authorities. There are no third party appeals allowed in respect of applications which comply with the strict guidelines of the planning authority. Hopefully it will lead to fast tracked decisions and quicker development. We advise clients who are acquiring sites and going through the planning process in SDZs and in the process of developing sites in these areas. When acquiring these sites it is very important to gather what information you can on adjoining properties and potential linked sites as planning authorities favour "joined up" proposals that will produce a cohesive development.
Sources in Dublin City Council said the masterplan, or planning scheme, should be available in the autumn. "We know the importance of this site for housing. This is a priority," one said. But the SDZ will require access issues to be resolved, and is likely to require a new river crossing. However, the Government has committed to developing an infrastructure fund, so this should not prove a difficulty. Key to the success will be public input. A consultation will get under way in the coming weeks, and the public will have an opportunity to feed into the process and put forward ideas on what can be delivered. That includes ensuring the right mix of housing and community facilities.