As promised, here's just a brief insight into the recent CCC North Docklands Area Plan (June 2005). The plan encompasses an area spanning from Brian Boru Street in the west to CastleView Terrace in the east, near Water Street. The plan highlights a number of prime sites within this area which are earmarked for substantial development as part of the area regeneration plan. These sites are indicated in the image posted below (click on thumbnail to enlarge).
As it stands, a number of these sites are already the subject of, have completed or are about to be submitted for planning. Site 1 = Paul Kenny's The Treasury office development destined for Revenue Commissioner tenancy (however, Donal F. O'Donovan's DL Safety site is still up for a potential development of its own). Sites 4 + 5 are to be subject to applications by CIE and Manor Park Homes as part of a total 525m euro redevelopment, encompassing a new train station arrangement, residential, commercial etc etc elements (this application is now expected to be a little later than scheduled consequent of recent talks between MPH and CCC; the project will be conducted in 3 Phases with completion mooted for 2010). Site 6 = Werdna Ltd's plans for Water Street. These plans are currently in appeal following a decision by CCC which effectively obliterated the scheme (interestingly, the NDAP notes that construction on this development is slated for 2006. The problem is, if Werdna do not receive a grant on the development, the developers may threaten to walk away on this site. Such a move would delay the perceived timeframe and development plan as a whole - it continues to be seen that the decision by Navigation House was a poor one, contrary to the insistence of planners). One of the problems with the plan is that it fails to account for a number of variables such as this scenario.
From a traffic management point of view, a number of proposals are cited. These include the provision of new infastructural utilities such as the link road east-to-west on Horgan's Quay lands, the Water Street Bridge (a concept of which may be seen below next to the traffic management map image; the Water Street Bridge is set to be installed by 2010, with a feasibility and conceptualisation study to be completed by the end of this month) and Harley Street Pedestrian Bridge. Some existing routes will be improved and in some cases reconfigured to cater for 2-way traffic systems. This quick fix logic is not always the correct solution - one can simply note the disastrous example recently on Lancaster Quay. It makes no sense to cater to increased inputs of traffic flowing into the city versus the healthier system that was in place which quite adequately dispersed and filtered traffic away from the centre (I believe business owners and concerned individuals met at a meeting in Sugar Cafe along Washington Street this evening to discuss the woeful new system).
One element of the NADP I agree with, and admittedly did not see prior to this recent publication, was the mentioned that City Quarter on Lapps Quay should be seen as the minimum in development quality that can be expected from future docklands developments in the area. Better better and better should be what we strive for thereafter. City Quarter may be seen as the benchmark.
Talk of City Manager Joe Gavin's wishes to see an Event Centre at Horgan's Quay would seem to be established within the Plan - his discussions with MPH seem positive, however, I'm not so sure the realisation of their ideas on an event centre would be in the strategic interests of the city as they seem, so far, limited given alternative options. Though building heights are stated as averaging 7-storeys as a rule, the Plan says it will cater for landmark, architecturally superior towers in appropriate settings - and as Jim O'Donovan once said, 'height does not necessarily mean landmark'. It would seem, as part of discussions on an event centre, MPH will be shown a degree of leniancy regarding their building heights so long as they serve a strong architectural standard. However, I note many of the examples documented within the plan as being 'landmark' are FAR from what I would regard as being acceptable in standard. They seem, quite often, bog basic.
Of the sites marked, but without any clear development plans in the immediate - the Alfred/Railway Street lands (many of which are set to be available over the coming months), I would seem as becoming ideal sites for development as they set to be the intrinsic link between the city centre and the new quarter at Horgan's Quay/Water Street. Building heights can be expected to start at the 4 to 5 storey marker set by Unity House, the Siemens Building and The Treasury - but peak no higher than the generalised 7-storey rule. Expect high interest in these potential sites over the coming future.
I'll have more tid-bits on the NDAP in the future.