Written answers

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

Planning Issues

Photo of Maureen O'SullivanMaureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent)
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139. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to a proposal contained in the Dublin City Draft Development Plan 2016 - 2022 to redefine low rise to include buildings of nine storeys or 28 metres, that is, twice the height of the typical Georgian buildings that are a feature of Dublin city centre; and his views on whether such a policy constitutes the type of sound planning that must inform housing and urban planning policy. [2166/17]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022, adopted by the elected members in September 2016, sets out a coherent, robust and cogent development framework for the Dublin City Council area.

During the consultation process on the making of the Plan, my Department, as a prescribed body, made submissions in December 2015 and July 2016 to Dublin City Council which included recommendations on appropriate heights for future development.

National planning policy strongly supports goals relating to avoiding urban sprawl and securing the efficient use of serviced urban land and increased densities, especially in highly accessible inner city areas, where the full range of employment, retail, educational and recreational facilities are within walking or cycling distance and close to frequent public transport.

As with many other cities around the world of comparable function and scale to Dublin, development sites in inner city areas are a critical and finite resource for its people and its economy and among the best locations within which the housing, community facilities and employment opportunities required can be provided.

Considering the varied building pattern across Dublin, including the scope for taller buildings in certain strategic locations near public transport nodes and centres of employment as provided in the City Development Plan, I have no difficulty with the manner in which the low-rise designation has been arrived at. I would furthermore add that, if building heights in Dublin were required to match or be influenced by Georgian building heights generally, considerable difficulties would be experienced in meeting requirements for additional housing and employment space within the city and in a manner appropriate to the European and global role that Dublin now increasingly plays.

Moreover, if Dublin was further constrained in terms of achievable building heights, the city would then tend to spread outwards even more than it already has, to the detriment of people’s quality of life by forcing increased commuting and distance between living and working.

At the same time, it is also vital that the special character and architectural quality of the City is appropriately managed and conserved through the extensive range of City Development Plan policies and objectives, such as Architectural Conservation Areas and residential conservation areas.


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