Height controls for apartments are to be eased

by Emma Nolan

Apartment height controls in Dublin City are to be relaxed as current rules are deemed “ridiculous”.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has asked for rules to be eased on height and parking requirements for apartment buildings in an effort to stop Dublin’s low rise urban sprawl.

Speaking at the Irish Planning Institute Annual Autumn Conference last Friday, Minister Murphy said that the current height restrictions “do not make sense”.

He said: “If you go to cities in the UK like Manchester or London and further afield, you will find new models or brilliantly designed, superbly executed, centrally located and affordable rental accommodation.

“We have to free ourselves from the mindset that everyone will live in a three-bedroom house at every stage of their lives.

“Building cities outwards is a failed concept.

“We have some ridiculous restrictions, a numerical height cap is a planning restriction that no longer makes sense in the context of proper sustainable planning.”

He is also looking to bring down the cost of building apartments, by reducing the requirement for parking spaces in new builds.

“The onus will be on the developer to prove why there should be car-parking places provided in apartment buildings,” he said.

“Basically, we are going to remove the requirement that there should be any parking spaces at all.”

The Minister explained that new developments should be built “within clearly defined geographical catchments” that are well-serviced by public transport, reducing the need for car parks to be built as part of new developments.

Local councillor and architect Ciaran Cuffe (GP) said that the Minister’s focus on high rise developments distracts from the issue that “low-rise high density can deliver housing we need”.

“Years ago, Richard Rogers in ‘Towards and Urban Renaissance’ showed that high rise often doesn’t achieve more units than low-rise.

“Instead Minister Eoghan Murphy should focus on quality, and affordability in the right locations. He should seek more European Investment Bank funding for affordable housing.”

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