15.14 - Commercial Development/Miscellaneous

15.14.1         Hotels and Aparthotels

To ensure a balance is achieved between the requirement to provide for adequate levels of visitor accommodation and other uses in the city such as residential, social, cultural and economic uses, there will be a general presumption against an overconcentration of hotels and aparthotels.


Pending the outcome of an analysis of the supply and demand for tourism related accommodation in the Dublin City area (to be carried out by Dublin City Council), 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 all 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.

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. For schemes less than 5,000 sq. m, a high quality environment should be provided where feasible through measures such as landscaping and public realm enhancements.  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. As part of the Architectural Design Statement for larger office schemes, an assessment should be provided as to how the development would impact on other buildings in close proximity.

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 Z6 and Z7) 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:

  • Compliance with any update of national policy and regulatory measures to manage demand from large energy users, such as data centres, in the context of climate targets and future network needs.
  • 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.

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       Pigeon Lofts

Pigeon 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.

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.