‘Ar­bi­trary caps’ on tall builds to be lifted

Irish Independent - - News Housing -

They are guided by the Na­tional Plan­ning Frame­work which de­mands that pop­u­la­tion growth be largely fo­cused in ex­ist­ing built-up ar­eas.

It fol­lows new guide­lines on apart­ment de­vel­op­ment pub­lished last March which in­creased the num­ber of onebed units al­lowed, re­duced the num­ber of lift shafts re­quired and re­moved the need to pro­vide car park­ing for schemes served by good pub­lic trans­port links.

“We know that we have low rise cities in this coun­try, but if we’re go­ing to meet our pop­u­la­tion needs in terms of hous­ing, we have to in­crease the den­si­ties,” Hous­ing Minister Eoghan Mur­phy said.

“This means chang­ing the apart­ment guide­lines to al­low greater den­sity, but also lift­ing this ar­bi­trary height cap that we have in cities. It’s about al­low­ing for taller build­ings, but re­ally about in­creas­ing the shoul­der height across ur­ban sec­tors. We need to get more peo­ple liv­ing in the core of our town and city cen­tres.”

The changes were wel­comed by chair of Prop­erty In­dus­try Ire­land Tom Phillips, who said they were a “very pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment”.

“Plan­ning is sup­posed to be on a case-by-case ba­sis and the heights were com­pletely ar­bi­trary,” he said.

But he added there were still is­sues with the vi­a­bil­ity of projects, a con­struc­tion skills short­age and the im­po­si­tion of levies to pay for in­fra­struc­ture, which were ul­ti­mately passed onto pur­chasers of new homes.

“These (guide­lines) are part of the jig­saw,” he added. “They’re a very im­por­tant part but not the fi­nal piece.”

The mea­sures do not mean that all high-rise pro­pos­als will be ap­proved, as projects will have to fit in with the ex­ist­ing area and are sub­ject to plan­ning rules.

Dublin City Coun­cil­lor Ciarán Cuffe raised con­cerns about traf­fic af­fects and the ero­sion of lo­cal po­lit­i­cal pow­ers.

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