The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 provides for new temporary streamlined arrangements to enable planning applications for strategic housing developments (SHD), of 100 housing units or more or student accommodation or shared accommodation developments of 200 bed spaces or more, to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála for determination.
In making a decision on an application for permission in respect of an SHD proposal, the Board has regard to a number of matters including the report of the relevant planning authority on the proposed development, the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, the development plan, including any relevant local area plan, local infrastructure and services, any submissions or observations received, as well as any relevant Ministerial or Government policies, including any guidelines issued by my Department.
A detailed and national level policy approach in relation to residential densities in urban areas is set out in my Department’s 2009 Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas, issued under section 28 of the Act. The objective of these Guidelines is to ensure planning authorities bring about high quality and sustainable urban development by balancing the need to ensure the highest standards of residential design which encompasses building lay-out, design and heights and the need to ensure the efficient use of scarce land and infrastructural resources and the avoidance of urban sprawl.
Planning authorities, and, where applicable, the Board, must have regard to guidelines issued under section 28 in the performance of their functions generally under the Planning Acts.