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Draft planning guidance on upward development published in Ireland

Words: Roger Milne
High rise in Ireland / iStock-495473288

New statutory guidelines for planning authorities that encourage taller buildings, and more compact and integrated communities, in a bid to halt low-rise suburban development around Irish towns and cities has been published for consultation by the government.

Planners have given a cautious welcome to this move. However, the Irish Planning Institute has said that the guidelines would needed to be strengthened to ensure that planners had the power to “resist poor-quality approaches” by developers.

Housing and planning minister Eoghan Murphy said: “Our classic development models for our city and town cores have tended to be dominated by employment and retail uses, surrounded by extensive and constantly expanding low-rise suburban residential areas. This is completely unsustainable.

“These draft guidelines are part of a suite of measures and policy shifts to break the current development patterns for our cities and towns, and create more compact and integrated communities.

“Our cities and our towns must grow upwards – not just outwards – if we are to meet the many challenges ahead. Constant expansion of low-density suburban development around our cities and towns cannot continue. The increased level and cost of infrastructure it generates, the energy-intensive transport systems needed to feed it, and the loss of prime green land which, once developed, is irreplaceable.”

He added: “These guidelines are intended to set a new and more responsive policy and regulatory framework for planning the growth and development of our cities and towns upwards, rather than ever outwards.”

In line with government policy to support increased building height in locations with good public transport accessibility, planning authorities will be expected to identify in statutory plans “areas where increased building height will be actively pursued for both redevelopment and infill development to secure the objectives of the National Planning Framework and regional spatial and economic strategies and shall not provide for blanket numerical limitations on building height”.

Image credit | iStock