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New planning standards for flats causes a flutter in Ireland

Words: Roger Milne

The Environment Department insisted this week that its planning, architectural, housing and surveyor advisers were satisfied that new minimum standards for flats were feasible and could be implemented by planning authorities.

Environment minister Alan Kelly has accused the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) of being “hypocritical” and “wrong” over its claims about the viability of new apartment size regulations.

RIAI vice-president and housing spokesman John O’Mahony said it was “not possible” to design an apartment within the minimum sizes introduced last month because the smallest permissible rooms would not fit inside.

Property industry representatives and planners subsequently said they had asked for tests to be carried out on the sizes to demonstrate their viability before the publication of the new planning guidelines last December.

Kelly said he was “flummoxed” by the comments. “I found it disingenuous and I found it very, very strange given the fact that some of the people who are commentating – if you check out their work – they have designed apartments that were less than the standards they are now complaining about.”

Publication of the new guidelines was designed to kick-start apartment development and improve the affordability of housing in Dublin.

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