Written Answers. - Planning Regulations.

Dan Boyle

Ceist:

85 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government his plans to alter planning guidelines in relation to high-rise development. [16633/03]

My Department has not to date issued any specific planning guidelines in relation to high-rise development. However, the guidelines for planning authorities on residential density, published by my Department in September 1999, deal, inter alia, with issues relating to building height.

The residential density guidelines indicate that while it is a common perception that higher densities require taller buildings, it is possible to increase density significantly with modest increases in height. The guidelines state that in general, low rise buildings which respect the scale and character of Irish towns and cities are appropriate. However the guidelines recognise that taller buildings may be appropriate in specific circumstances, namely, in locations specifically identified in development plans as being appropriate for higher buildings, such as locations close to an expanse of water or public parkland where a building of greater scale may be more appropriate or in a central district, town or city centre location where an increase in massing and height in the form of a contemporary and stylish building, could make a positive contribution to the skyline.
Dublin City Council published a report "Managing Intensification and Change – A Strategy for Dublin Building Height" in September 2000. The strategy recognised the intrinsic quality of Dublin as a low to medium rise city, predominantly below 30 metres high, but indicated that areas such as Heuston or the Docklands with large under-utilised sites are development character areas with opportunity for considerable development. In such areas, there is potential for higher buildings without compromising the local context.
The guidelines for planning authorities on residential density are construed as being Ministerial guidelines under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000. Planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála must, therefore, have regard to those guidelines in the exercise of their planning functions. I have no plans at this time to revise the residential density guidelines.

Jack Wall

Ceist:

86 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government if his Department has drafted guidelines for local authorities on the rezoning of land; if he intends to publish guidelines in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16532/03]

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

426 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if his Department had drafted guidelines for local authorities on the rezoning of land; if he intends to publish guidelines in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16445/03]

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000 a development plan must set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the area to which the plan relates. The Act provides that a development plan must include objectives,inter alia, for the zoning of land for the use solely or primarily of particular areas for particular purposes – residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, as open space or otherwise, or a mixture of those uses – where and to such extent as the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, in the opinion of the planning authority, requires the uses to be indicated. It is primarily a matter therefore for each planning authority to ensure that these zoning provisions are consistent with the overall strategy contained in the plan.
The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is a statutory consultee for development plans. My Department examines draft plans and offers comments as appropriate to local planning authorities.
My Department is currently preparing guidelines for planning authorities on development plans, which will be published in draft form for public consultation shortly. The guidelines will address,inter alia, the mandatory objectives which must be addressed in the development plan, including the zoning of land. Following consideration of any submissions received during the public consultation process, the guidelines will be issued in their final form as ministerial guidelines under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
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