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  • New Apartment Guidelines for Planning Authorities

    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:

    specify new minimum communal amenity space requirements which was not a requirement of the 2007 guidelines.
    require at least 50% of apartments in to be ‘dual aspect’ i.e. to face more than one direction.

    specify larger than normal (2.4m) minimum ground floor to ceiling height of 2.7m.

    allow consideration of north facing single aspect units and if any provided, require significantly greater minimum floor to ceiling heights of 3.0m (ground) and 2.7m (above ground) than normal (2.4m).

    the guidelines clarify that these requirements do not apply to student accommodation and also introduce flexibility in respect of childcare provision within apartments schemes.

    Overall the Guidelines are far more detailed that the previous 2007 guidelines yet introduce a higher degree of flexibility in terms of design detail.

    Published on December 22, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as:
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