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05/01/2018

Planning regime changes for flats announced to boost Irish housing supply

Words: Roger Milne
High restrictions on residential buildings to be altered / iStock-495473288

New updated draft planning guidelines designed to boost the number of flats proposed in Irish cities and towns have been published by planning and housing minister Eoghan Murphy.

Height restrictions on residential buildings are to be altered to allow for easier construction of high-rise developments in cities across the state.

Other changes include the removal of a requirement to have car-parking spaces in urban areas well served by public transport.

Ministers also want to increase the cap on the number of units that can be on a floor for every lift or staircase from eight to 12.

Murphy said: “Urban development in Ireland needs a lot more apartment provision so that we can enable our cities and towns to become the places that people want to see in a modern society and a modern economy.”

He insisted: “These new measures will address a number of challenges that we currently face. They will make it a lot more cost effective to build apartments, with the removal of parking space requirements and increasing the number of units that can be built in a development, for example.

“They will attract greater investment in to the build-to-rent sector, which will relieve the huge pressure we are currently seeing in the rental market.”

The most significant change is the removal of the height restrictions. Currently residential developments in low-rise areas of inner-city Dublin can be only six storeys (about 24 metres high), with lower limits in the suburbs.

The minister intends to remove that cap and instead use the suitability of the site as a guiding principle.

The Department of Housing has insisted there will be no change to key quality safeguards, including internal space standards for one, two and three-bedroom apartments; floor-to-ceiling heights; or the storage and amenity space requirements. The updated provisions will offer greater flexibility in relation to apartment type mix, to allow more studios and different types of one-bedroom accommodation.

The updated guidelines can be found on the Irish Government website (pdf).

Image credit | iStock

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