herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Apartment height controls to be eased

High rise at Grand Canal Dock.
High rise at Grand Canal Dock.

Height restrictions for apartment blocks are to be eased in city centres and along key transport routes as the Housing Minister warned the current limits were "ridiculous".

Eoghan Murphy is asking officials to report back on the possibility of changing planning rules to cut out mandatory car parking in complexes.

The minister also tried to dismiss notions that the relaxation of planning and building rules was for the benefit of developers.

"Let me completely dispel any notion that this is about quick returns for our housing providers," he said.

"This is about meeting the housing needs of modern diverse cities and new communities while also opening up new sources of funding like pension funds to provide this accommodation."

Crisis

Another measure being floated to combat the worst housing and homelessness crisis in the history of the State is new shared student-style accommodation where young professionals would live in high-rise buildings with access to shared kitchens, utility rooms, gyms or recreation areas.

The developments have been used in London and Berlin.

Mr Murphy told the Irish Planning Institute that a complete change in the outlook and approaches to future planning and development of Irish cities was needed.

"We know that building cities outwards is a failed concept," he said.

"We have some ridiculous restrictions on the effective and efficient use of scarce and expensive building land. The sprawl has got to stop."

On restrictions for high-rise apartment complexes, Mr Murphy said he intended to lift the caps in city centres and along key public transport corridors.

At present, apartment blocks are a maximum 24 metres high in low-rise parts of inner-city Dublin and 13 metres in the suburbs.

Those restrictions cover the majority of the capital.

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