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09/10/2017

Urban ‘sprawl’ has to stop – Eoghan Murphy

Words: Laura Edgar
Eoghan Murphy / Fine Gael

Irish housing and planning minister Eoghan Murphy has said the country has some ‘ridiculous restrictions on the effective and efficient use of scarce and expensive building land’, and states that the sprawl has to stop.

Speaking at the Irish Planning Institute’s autumn conference, Murphy said there are restrictions where there are lower building heights set out for residential development than commercial – even when the buildings are on the same street.

“This makes no sense in normal times, never mind when we’re in the midst of a housing crisis.”

He went on to announce that revised statutory guidelines on the process for development plans will be published before the end of this year. They will see a new evidence-based policy methodology for setting building height policy objectives in statutory development plans.

“Essentially, I intend to lift the numerical height caps in our city cores and along key public transport corridors.”

This will not be a “free-for-all” for tall buildings, Murphy said, but would enable viable, high-density residential development “where it makes sense”.

Murphy also used his speech to question why much of the housing being built in Ireland is in the suburbs and farther out and why the mix is not more diverse.

“With fewer than 1,000 properties available for rent in Dublin and similar low levels in all our other cities, there is not just undersupply, but a gaping hole in the supply of affordable accommodation (and rental accommodation in particular) in the heart of our cities. Turning that tide means we simply have to deliver more apartments in our cities.”

The minister also announced that new statutory guidelines for planning authorities on the build-to-rent sector will be put in place by December. They will be written in the context of the national planning framework, Ireland 2040 – Our Plan, which is currently out for public consultation.


Read more:

Final draft national planning framework published in Ireland


Image credit | Fine Gael

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