Chamber Welcomes Easing of Building Height Restrictions

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By Chamber Press Office, 03 May 2018

Dublin Chamber has welcomed the news that height restrictions on new buildings are to be lifted in Dublin.

Reacting to comments made by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, the Chamber said that constructing taller buildings will help ease Dublin's growing housing crisis and allow for the potential of key development sites in Dublin to be realised.

According to Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke: "A planning system which allows for the appropriate construction of higher and denser buildings is vital if Dublin is to be able to cope with the 280,000 additional people forecast to be living in Dublin by 2031. Allowing for taller buildings doesn't mean that Dublin will become a city dominated by skyscrapers or that the unique architectural character of Dublin will be lost. Rather, it will allow for projects that will meet the needs of the future, add to the city's built heritage and boost the local economy. The possibility of going higher also helps build the business case for investment in new and improved transport infrastructure, such as MetroLink, new Luas lines, the BusConnects project and world-class cycling infrastructure.”

Dublin Chamber said that building higher and increasing densities is essential if Dublin is to be equipped for the demands of 21st century living.

However, the Chamber cautioned that relaxing height restrictions will be pointless unless the planning authorities have the conviction required to green light ambitious high-rise projects.

Ms Burke said: “We hope that the changes proposed by the Minister will create certainty in the planning system that proposed high rise developments will have a chance of being approved. It is frustrating that any time a ‘high rise’ development is mooted for one of the four locations where taller buildings are currently permitted – such as George’s Quay – the proposals seem to be blocked.

"Dublin is currently a low density city by international standards. Given the limited amount of vacant land available in the city, particularly within the M50, we must ensure that any future building maximises its potential. Having the option of building higher will ensure that we make the most of what we have. Our own research has identified that the majority of Dubliners are in favour of taller buildings being built in the city," added Ms Burke.

Dublin Chamber said its research had found that constructing even one extra storey on a 1 hectare site would provide around 20 additional residential units.

Ms Burke said: "We must prepare for more people living and working in Dublin. Building upwards will allow for considerably greater densities, meaning we will be able to maximise the potential of the limited amount of space available in the areas of the city that people want to live. Increased heights and densities will also help alleviate Dublin's growing congestion problems. Ensuring growth goes up instead of sprawling ever outwards will provide more space for people to live, make public transport a more viable option for commuters. International research and experience shows that greater densities provide a significantly greater return on investment in public transport, strengthening the case for increased investment."