An Taisce supports the objectives of the National Planning Framework (hereafter “the NPF”) in providing for better designed and higher density urban areas and neighborhoods with walkable and public transport connectivity to services, employment and amenities. The pattern of low density suburban car based sprawl which has characterised much of the development of the last number of decades is unsustainable.

It is also of great importance to recognise and acknowledge that Historic Urban Centres are an irreplaceable social, cultural an economic assets which should not be compromised by high-rise development. The draft guidelines in their present form will have a detrimental impact on the character of the historic core of Ireland’s cities and major towns. It is inappropriate to introduce blanket height guidelines that would require planning authorities and An Bord Pleanala to apply specific planning policy requirements of the guidelines in carrying out their functions.

An Taisce considers that the most suitable way to safeguard the character and quality of the historic core whilst at the same time curtailing sprawl would be to maximise land use and identify suitable sites outside the historic core (e.g. large scale institutional lands, disused railway yards) for higher density urban development and accommodate higher density in the historic core through high density type urban developments set out in Section 6.0 of this submission.

An Taisce fully supports the view expressed by Minister Murphy in the Foreward that ‘we need to shift away from the unsustainable “business as usual” development patterns and create a more adaptive forward-looking vision’. It is remarkable then, to find that what is being proposed is not only “business as usual”, but that the developer-led model has been embraced to a greater degree than ever before, with potentially disastrous consequences for our cities and towns.

See Press Release - An Taisce questions 'blanket height guidelines'

Download submission here.