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Housing; Local Government and Heritage | Housing development standards and requirements

To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage the quality and size of housing developments that is sufficient to modern requirements and standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Statutory ‘Section 28’ ministerial guidelines for planning authorities on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (the ‘Sustainable Residential Development Guidelines’) were last issued in 2009.  The aim of these guidelines is to set out the key planning principles which should be reflected in development plans and local area plans, and which should guide the preparation and assessment of planning applications for residential development in urban areas.  The guidelines emphasise the role of development plans and local area plans in setting out policies and standards for residential development.  The guidelines also set out core principles of design and placemaking to be applied in order to create places of high quality, at the level of district or neighbourhood, housing scheme and individual dwelling. 

Further, related guidance has been subsequently issued in the form of updates to the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments Guidelines for Planning Authorities, updated in 2015, 2018 and more recently 2020.  These guidelines set mandatory standards for apartment development including standards in relation to minimum floor areas, dwelling mix, aspect, storage space and amenity space. 

The standards in these guidelines have been carefully considered in order to form a balance between the need to ensure a high standard of residential amenity while facilitating the provision of new housing development. 

My Department is currently undertaking a review to update the Sustainable Residential Development Guidelines with new Sustainable and Compact Settlement Guidelines (SCSG).   A preliminary draft of the new guidelines has been prepared and a working group has been convened to work through a number of key issues, including issues relating to density and development standards.  It is envisaged that draft Guidelines will be placed on display for a focused period of public consultation in Q4 2022.  Following a period of review and with any subsequent changes made, the guidelines will be submitted to the Minister for approval to publish.  Once issued, Planning Authorities and An Bord Pleanála will be required to have regard to the Guidelines in carrying out their functions.
Separately, in July 2022 my Department published a Design Manual for Quality Housing.  This manual provides guidance on the design of Social Housing developments and is aimed at local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.  The manual sets out urban design and place making priorities and guidance on internal layouts of individual dwellings.  The design principles set out in the manual could equally be applied to any residential development.

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