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Time to build upwards says Minister, as new guidelines recommend taller buildings in cities

New guidelines are calling for local authorities to evaluate their current planning policies.

Image: Sam Boal via Rolling News

HOUSING MINISTER EOGHAN Murphy has published new guidelines calling for local authorities to evaluate their current planning policies on taller buildings in urban areas.

The guidelines published in the Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines for Planning Authorities set out new and updated national planning policy on building heights in relation to urban areas, following a public consultation process. 

The new outlines for planning authorities are guided by the National Planning Framework which demands that population growth be largely focused in existing built-up areas in an effort to tackle urban sprawl.

According to Murphy, “arbitrary” height caps on apartment buildings in cities don’t make any sense and don’t facilitate good planning and design.

“This is as much about increasing the shoulder height of buildings in our town and city cores, as well as allowing for taller buildings across our skyline, that will add to the merit and functionality of our urban cores as places to live,” Murphy said in a statement. 

Our cities and our towns must grow upwards, not just outwards, if we are to meet the many challenges ahead.

The planning guidelines state that increased building height is a significant component in making the best use of the capacity of sites in cities and towns. 

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“Accordingly, the development plan must include the positive disposition towards appropriate assessment criteria that will enable proper consideration of development proposals for increased building height linked to the achievement of a greater density of development,” the guidelines state. 

Increased building height “is a key factor in assisting modern place making and improving the overall quality of our urban environments”. 

The Housing Department added that local planning authorities should still critically evaluate the existing written statements and development objectives, as all high rise proposals will not be approved under the new guidelines. 

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Adam Daly

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