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  • The Government yesterday (21st December 2015) published updated guidelines on apartment standards – Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments.

    The new guidelines contain specific national planning policy requirements that will take precedence over policies and objectives of development plans, local area plans or strategic development zone planning schemes and will apply to all housing developments, whether public or private.

    The updated 2015 guidelines will be supported by legislation under the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2015 and will be the first set of Ministerial Guidelines issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended by the 2015 Act above which enables the Minister to set out ‘specific planning policy requirements’ which must be applied by planning authorities in the exercise of their functions.

    The updated 2015 apartment guidelines retain the minimum floor area standards that were set nationally in 2007 but require, for the first time, that the majority of apartments in an apartment scheme exceed the minimum floor area standard in the previous 2007 guidelines, by at least 10%.

    The updated guidelines introduce studio units as a possibility(min. 40sq.m), but only in managed, build-to let developments of over 50 units in certain circumstances.

    The updated guidelines also: Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on December 22, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as:
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  • The Government have published arrangements for the preparation of a National Planning Framework (15.12.15) as the overall strategic planning and development strategy for the country, including regional and local level planning and to be adopted by Dáil Éireann in line with provisions of the Planning Bill.

    The National Planning Framework will replace the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) which dates from 2002. As the highest level planning policy document for the country, the new Framework will provide a long term vision to guide future development and investment decisions and will also co-ordinate new regional assembly strategies and local authority county development plans.

    The Roadmap document sets out the role of the NPF as the overarching 20 year framework for spatial planning and regional development for regional and local authorities and An Bord Pleanála in their statutory planning functions. The NPF will also inform longer term investment in both physical infrastructure such as transport, housing, water services, energy, communications and social infrastructure relating to education and health.

    The NPF will have a high-level national focus. Concurrent within the NPF drafting process, new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSES) will be prepared by the three new Regional Assemblies to replace the current set of seven Regional Planning Guideline documents which expire in 2016. These new RSES’s will have a 12 year lifespan to 2028. The combined purpose of the NPF and RSESs is to set long-term national and regional development frameworks to ensure proper planning and sustainable development in an optimal manner.

    Published on December 21, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as:
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  • The Government have published (15.12.15) a Planning and Development (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2015 which will provide for the establishment of an independent “Office of the Planning Regulator” to maintain a constant watch over the general systems and procedures employed by planning authorities, including An Bord Pleanála and to examine and report on the content of development plans, including zoning practices of local authorities.

    The primary purpose of the Bill is to provide a legislative basis for the establishment and operation of the independent Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) which was the main recommendation of the Mahon Tribunal of Inquiry into certain planning matters and payments. Under the provisions of the Bill, the OPR will be:

    • fully independent of the Department in its day to day operations;
    • responsible for the independent assessment of all local authority and regional assembly forward planning, including the zoning decisions of local authority members in local area and development plans, to ensure compliance with relevant national and/or regional policy;
    • empowered to review the organisations, systems and procedures used by any planning authority or An Bord Pleanala in the performance of any of their planning functions under the Planning Act, including potential systemic risks of corruption and on foot of individual complaints from members of the public; and
    • enabled to drive a national research, education and public information programme on proper planning and sustainable development, and to highlight the role and benefit of planning.
    Among the other revisions to the Planning and Development Act incorporated in the Bill are provisions for:
    • a legislatively defined approach to the development of a successor strategy to the National Spatial Strategy (Mahon recommendation Number 1),
    • enhanced transparency in the planning process with submissions and observations received in respect of development plans and local area plans having to be published on planning authorities’ websites (Mahon recommendation Number 5),
    • the Chief Executive’s report on such submissions also to be published on the website of the relevant planning authority (Mahon recommendation Number 5),
    • the forwarding of any proposed grants of planning permission Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on December 21, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as:
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