Limits on the height of buildings have been abolished in all cities and large towns in a radical redrawing of our planning laws.
The new building heights will be in stark contrast to the traditional suburban landscape of two-storey semi-detatched homes.
City and county councillors will no longer be allowed impose a maximum height for residential and commercial developments.
Developers were told new builds should be at least six storeys in the centres of Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Galway – and towns like Sligo, Athlone, Letterkenny, Dundalk and Drogheda.
They are guided by the National Planning Framework which demands that population growth be largely focused in existing built-up areas.
It follows new guidelines on apartment development published last March which increased the number of one-bed units allowed, reduced the number of lift shafts required and removed the need to provide car parking for schemes served by good public transport links.
“We know that we have low rise cities in this country, but if we’re going to meet our population needs in terms of housing, we have to increase the densities,” Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said.
“This means changing the apartment guidelines to allow greater density, but also lifting this arbitrary height cap that we have in cities. It’s about allowing for taller buildings, but really about increasing the shoulder height across urban sectors. We need to get more people living in the core of our town and city centres.”
The changes were welcomed by chair of Property Industry Ireland Tom Phillips, who said they were a “very positive development”.
“Planning is supposed to be on a case-by-case basis and the heights were completely arbitrary,” he said.
But he added there were still issues with the viability of projects, a construction skills shortage and the imposition of levies to pay for infrastructure, which were ultimately passed onto purchasers of new homes.
“These (guidelines) are part of the jigsaw,” he added. “They’re a very important part but not the final piece.”
The measures do not mean that all high-rise proposals will be approved, as projects will have to fit in with the existing area and are subject to planning rules.
Dublin City Councillor Ciarán Cuffe raised concerns about traffic affects and the erosion of local political powers.
Original article: www.independent.ie