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Building height restrictions in towns and cities lifted


Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: COLIN O’RIORDAN

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: COLIN O’RIORDAN

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: COLIN O’RIORDAN

Restrictions on maximum building heights in towns and cities have been lifted.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has published new guidelines which remove height caps on new buildings which are aimed at preventing urban sprawl.

The measures are included in the Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines for Planning Authorities published today following a public consultation process.

They set out new and updated national planning policy on building heights in urban areas, and are guided by the National Planning Framework which demands that population growth  be largely focused in existing built-up areas.

“We need to shift away from the business as usual development patterns and create a more adaptive and forward-looking vision. Our cities and our towns must grow upwards, not just outwards, if we are to meet the many challenges ahead,” the minister said.

“Our classic development models for our city and town cores has tended to be dominated by employment and retail uses, surrounded by extensive and constantly expanding low-rise suburban residential areas. This is completely unsustainable”.

He said that “arbitrary height caps” on apartment buildings “don’t make any sense” and the new rules would allow for taller buildings.

They follow changes to guidelines around apartment development published earlier this year, which removes the need to provide car parking spaces for properties constructed close to good public transport links.

The measures mean local councillors can no longer impose building height rules in city and county development plans.

However, they 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 which are designed to prevent major traffic impacts, loss of amenity and light, among other issues.

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The guidelines state that locations with potential for urban redevelopment, such as former industrial estates, dockland locations and low density urban shopping centres should be identified to allow development of taller buildings.

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