In a submission today[1] to the draft ‘Urban Development and Building Heights, Guidelines for Planning Authorities’[2] An Taisce have stated that “It is inappropriate to introduce blanket height guidelines”

Ian Lumley, An Taisce’s Advocacy Officer stated ”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.”

This supports the objectives of the National Planning Framework in providing for better designed and higher density urban areas and neighbourhoods with walkable and public transport connectivity to services, employment and amenities. An Taisce has long propounded that the pattern of low density suburban car based sprawl which has characterised much of the development of the last number of decades is unsustainable.

Ian Lumley continued “It is also of great importance to recognise and acknowledge that Historic Urban Centres are an irreplaceable social, cultural and 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”.

An Taisce submits that the Draft Guidelines as presented are fundamentally unsound in planning terms as the premise on which they are based is flawed i.e. that in order to achieve higher density in urban areas, buildings of 6 storeys and higher are required. Attention should be given to achieving higher densities by increasing the number of units per hectare.

Ian Lumley further stated “It is of great concern to An Taisce that the Draft Guidelines undermine long-standing objectives to protect the sky-line and inner-urban areas of historic towns and cities. Of equal concern is the imposition of planning standards by the central government which would over-ride democratically adopted local development plans”.

Ian Lumley continued “We reiterate that the Draft Guidelines are formulated in a manner that epitomises the ‘developer-led’ approach, facilitating property owners at the expense of the public who suffer the serious consequences of bad planning policy. In effect the Draft Guidelines amount to a ‘Developer’s Charter’”.

Ian Lumley concluded “These proposed guidelines would have an impact not just on Dublin and the four main regional cities but also on larger towns like Ballina, Clonmel, Monaghan and Wexford”.

For further information, contact:
Ian Lumley, An Taisce Advocacy Officer: +353 1 454 1786
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: [email protected]
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland


[1] An Taisce's submission
[2] Public Consultation on DRAFT ‘Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines for Planning Authorities’

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.