Developers to be allowed build houses instead of apartments in Dublin zones

Densities lowered for two major land banks

Deputy city planner John O’Hara (right): said Dublin City Council is responding to demand for houses in the city and for the need to kick-start development. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Deputy city planner John O’Hara (right): said Dublin City Council is responding to demand for houses in the city and for the need to kick-start development. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Fri, Jan 3, 2014, 01:00


Dublin City Council has changed its development policies in relation to two major land banks to the north and west of the city to allow the construction of houses instead of apartments.

Density regulations, brought in to stop the suburban sprawl, are being relaxed for two developing areas, Ashtown-Pelletstown between Finglas and Castleknock; and Clongriffin in the north fringe of the city that includes Belmayne and Priory Hall.

Substantial tracts of land in both areas were zoned for development in 1999. The following year, action plans were drafted for each with the intention of reducing “unsustainable trends towards commuting and urban sprawl” and providing “housing at higher densities”.

Development took off during the construction boom that followed, with substantial numbers of apartments built in quick succession. Construction halted abruptly when the recession hit, leaving some complexes unfinished and others isolated without services such as shops and village centres.

The developments built had average densities of 100 units per hectare. The council’s new local area plans for both land banks will allow densities of 50 to 75 units per hectare, which would facilitate the development of houses.

The council is responding to demand for houses in the city and for the need to kick-start development, deputy city planner John O’Hara said.

“These plans are responsive to the needs of the city. There is a critical balance in getting sustainable densities and allowing the development of the sort of housing people want to buy.”

In Ashtown-Pelletstown about 2,000 apartments and 400 houses have been built of 4,000 units initially envisaged. The council estimates there will be about 3,500 units in total when the scheme is complete.

Clongriffin, a larger area, is further behind in terms of its planned development. About 12,000 units were planned and just 3,500 have been built (including Priory Hall), 75 per cent of which were apartments. The council hopes 4,000 to 4,500 more units will be built.

It is not stipulating developers must or should build houses but the relaxation in densities would making houses viable.

“The strategy is to enable the provision of houses to kick- start development. We feel we can’t hold out any more for huge high densities. We’re not going back to developments of solely two-storey houses but we need to restore confidence in the market.”

Executive manager for planning Jim Keogan rejected suggestions the council is enabling a return to suburban sprawl.

“We will have densities that comply with national standards. Fifty to 60 units per hectare is about the density you have in older suburbs such as Ranelagh or Marino. We would be acting irresponsibly if we were allowing densities below 10 to 15 an acre, [25-30 per hectare] which was standard in outer suburban development.”

All developments would still be subject to planning permission and those near rail stations would require densities at the higher end, Mr Keogan said.

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