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New planning standards for flats now in force in Ireland

Words: Roger Milne

The government has published updated guidelines on standards for new flats that contain specific national planning policy requirements.

These will take precedence over policies and objectives of development plans, local area plans or strategic development zone planning schemes and will apply to all housing developments, whether public or private.

The guidelines have been introduced to boost the provision of flats in urban areas.

Environment minister Alan Kelly insisted that flats meeting the new standards would be affordable to construct and affordable to buy.

The guidelines are supported by legislation under the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2015 and were the subject of the first set of Ministerial Guidelines issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended by the 2015 Act.

The guidelines retain the minimum floor area standards that were set nationally in 2007. But for the first time they require that the majority of flats in an apartment scheme exceed the minimum floor area standard in the previous 2007 guidelines by at least 10 per cent.

The guidelines introduce the idea of studio units as a possibility (minimum 40 square metres), but only in managed, build-to-let developments of more than 50 units in certain circumstances.

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