Thursday 27 October 2016

Dublin will lose out in Brexit jobs race if it restricts high rise housing - Ibec

Ronald Quinlan Commercial Property Editor

Published 23/08/2016 | 02:30

New Dublin City Council proposals would cut maximum height of low-rise housing units from 28m to 24. Photo: Bloomberg
New Dublin City Council proposals would cut maximum height of low-rise housing units from 28m to 24. Photo: Bloomberg

Ibec, has warned that Dublin will lose out in the global competition to attract jobs and investment if Dublin City Council approves a plan to lower the maximum height allowed for 'low rise' residential buildings in its inner city and suburbs.

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In its submission to the Draft Dublin City Development Plan, due to be published today, the employers' representative group describes proposals to reduce the heights permissible as "crazy" given the pressure of population growth in the capital.

If passed, the proposals would see the maximum height of Dublin's 'low rise' inner city residential buildings reduced from 28m to 24m, and the height of 'low rise' developments in suburbs capped at 13m.

Ibec senior executive Aidan Sweeney said the move would override established global practices of assessing each site's suitability and context for development and effectively tie the hands of Dublin City's planners with "new and impractical height restrictions". He added: "If passed by Dublin City Council, the new proposals will extend to new areas standards first initiated in the Georgian Quarter 250 years ago. The simple fact is that many existing low-rise buildings in the suburbs couldn't be built today.

"A more sensible approach is needed, which recognises that taller buildings can make a beneficial contribution, besides accommodation, to urban regeneration and their surrounding streetscape and skyline," Mr Sweeney argued.

He said while Dublin is well positioned to attract a new wave of investment and jobs as a result of Brexit, he said the housing crisis was undermining the city's attractiveness.

Ibec graph of changes to the capital’s population
Ibec graph of changes to the capital’s population

"The city is in a global race for investment, capital and talent which is intensifying all the time. The fallout from Brexit demonstrates that investment is mobile. Dublin needs to be firmly positioned amongst the world's most liveable cities such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Vienna, Sydney and Vancouver in order to attract new business and jobs." Ibec's call follows a similar appeal from Minister for Housing Simon Coveney.

In a letter written on his behalf to the council, officials at the Department of the Environment said the overall effect of reducing the heights allowed for apartment developments would "seriously affect the practical delivery of housing units".

While the minister's concerns are due to be presented to councillors when they meet next month, they have no bearing on the height limits which apply to Dublin's mid-rise and high rise areas. A total of nine areas in Dublin are currently designated as suitable for mid-rise buildings of up to 50m, while developments in excess of 50m are allowed in the Docklands, George's Quay, Connolly and Heuston.

In terms of the proposed height limits for 'low rise' development, the councillors' position is at variance with that of Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan.

He sought to have the maximum height in Dublin city centre to be set at 28m, and at 16m in the suburbs.

Irish Independent

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