Draft planning guidelines on ‘sustainable and compact settlements’ published

Draft planning guidelines on 'sustainable and compact settlements' published

Darragh O'Brien

Draft planning guidelines aimed at creating “more sustainable and compact settlements” have gone out to consultation.

The draft Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines for Planning Authorities expand on the National Planning Framework in relation to compact growth and in relation to the creation of attractive, liveable, well-designed, high-quality urban places.

Following the consultation, the finalised guidelines, to be published in October 2023, will build on and update the existing Sustainable Residential Developments in Urban Areas: Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2009).

Housing minister Darragh O’Brien said: “While progress continues to be made on housing delivery, this public consultation will help our aim of providing a broader range of housing options to meet the needs of a growing and diverse population.

“New housing should respond to population needs, enhance communities and facilitate a more sustainable way of building communities. I encourage members of the public to help shape the way forward and to influence the delivery of sustainable residential development in their communities.’”

To achieve compact growth, and reflecting the variety of settlements and settlement contexts where residential development takes place, the proposed approach recommends density ranges for cities, metropolitan towns, large towns (10,000+ population), small and medium sized towns (>1,500 to 10,000 population) and rural towns and villages (>1,500 population).

It adds that, recognising the significant population growth forecast and changing demographics, medium-density housing models should be facilitated, alongside traditional housing and apartment developments.

The guidelines also set out quality design and place-making indicators that should be applied in the preparation and consideration of individual planning applications, such as sustainable and efficient movement, mix and distribution of land uses, integration of natural assets and green infrastructure and built form.

Kieran O’Donnell, minister of state for planning and local government, said: “As we continue to increase the delivery of affordable housing, it’s important that we do so in a sustainable way harnessing best practice and ensuring that the right type of development occurs in the right locations.

“These proposed guidelines focus on residential density, housing standards and quality design with the aim of facilitating the creation of attractive, liveable, well-designed, high quality urban places.

“I would encourage people to give us their views so that we can increase housing supply into the future in a sustainable way, based on best planning practice.”

Submissions on the proposed policy approach can be made up until 5pm on 5 October 2023.

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