Tuesday 22 October 2019

High rise building needed in Dublin to prevent city sprawling 'to Athlone'

Dublin’s docklands as seen from Capital Docks
Dublin’s docklands as seen from Capital Docks

Colm Kelpie

Higher rise building needs to be allowed in Dublin to cushion a growing population or the city will spread as far as Athlone, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said.

The minister said he often asks developers why there is so little apartment building going on within the canals in the capital, and the reply he gets is that the price of land is too high.

“The price of land in building is really the unit cost of the land. If the local authority was to allow another five or six storeys, well then the unit cost goes down,” Mr Noonan argued.

He said there was a combination of factors at play around the housing issue in Dublin, but said current height limits on buildings in the capital needs to be addressed.

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

“I’m not for bad planning, but every city in the world in its central area allows people to live, especially young, single people, in apartments. It doesn’t have to be as low rise and confining as it is in Dublin at present,” he told TDs and Senators at the Oireachtas Budgetary Oversight committee.

Apartment heights in low-rise areas of the inner city in Dublin are limited to 24m.

Mr Noonan said the National Planning Framework - the successor to the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) - is currently being worked on amid predictions that the population of the Republic will be one million larger in 2040 than now.

“If it [Dublin] continues the low rise model, the city will stretch as far as Athlone when another million people go in on top of it. So there are huge issues,” Mr Noonan said.

Business bodies the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and IBEC have also called for a revision of the height limits. Dublin Chamber this week called for higher urban density and greater building heights to be allowed.

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