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RIAI Welcomes Focus on Place-Making, Innovation and Low-Rise Medium-Density Development in the Draft Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines for Planning Authorities (SCSG)
Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Kieran O'Donnell, TD, Minister of State for Local Government and Planning have published the Draft Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines for Planning Authorities for consultation. The Draft Guidelines set out policy and guidance in relation to the planning and development of urban and rural settlements in Ireland, with a focus on residential development and the creation of sustainable and compact settlements. The Guidelines, when finalised, will constitute Ministerial Guidelines under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended.
The RIAI has welcomed the launch of the consultation process for the draft Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines for Planning Authorities, and in particular the focus on placemaking, innovation and low-rise medium-density development.
The Institute has been actively contributing to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to update settlement guidelines to facilitate quality and sustainable placemaking and housing policy that will support high quality housing delivery and creation of resilient and sustainable communities. The draft Guidelines are the outcome of this process.
Earlier this year, the RIAI met with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien TD to propose a new ‘Low-Rise Medium-Density Housing Model’ be introduced as part of a directive for National Housing Planning Standards that will contribute to the delivery of homes sustainably in our existing settlements. We particularly note the inclusion of specific criteria within the proposed guidelines which facilitates the implementation of this housing typology on a national scale in our cities, towns and villages. This facilitates new thinking and initiatives addressing the current chronic housing shortage, and our need to address the current climate challenges, which is to be welcomed. The RIAI made a substantial submission on the publication of an initial policy position paper, issued by the Department for public consultation in March 2023 and we welcome the incorporation of many of our suggestions.
Commenting on the Guidelines, RIAI President Charlotte Sheridan said:
“In supporting these guidelines, the RIAI also call for the appropriate multi-disciplinary skill sets that will be required within the planning authorities as well as introduction of training programmes and upskilling opportunities for the relevant personnel in planning authorities implementing these guidelines in forward planning and development management. This is necessary to aid the smooth and successful delivery of the quality places that these guidelines aspire to achieve. In recognising the opportunities presented by the guidelines we offer our support to facilitate and develop such initiatives.”
Particular highlights of the draft Guidelines include:
- The new guidelines will allow for quicker implementation of specific planning policy requirements, subject to compliance with strategic development plans and relevant case law.
- A new Design Checklist forms an Appendix to the Guidelines, which will greatly assist in the refinement and review of detailed plans, and also in their presentation and interpretation by both planning authorities and members of the public alike. Design quality indicators will be measured under relevant criteria within the categories of Sustainable and Efficient Movement, Vibrant Centres and Communities, Landscape and Heritage and Responsive Built Form.
- The Guidelines will support urban design and quality placemaking processes that has the potential to facilitate a proactive plan-led approach that creates certainty for all.
- The Guidelines will reinforce and support the implementation of DMURS (Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets) and achievement of quality placemaking.
The Sustainable Compact Settlement Guidelines provides the basis for the adoption of a more design led and plan-led approach that creates certainty and the delivery of sustainable communities. The Guidelines facilitate flexibility in housing delivery and combined with quality decision making the potential to facilitate more innovative housing solutions to be developed at varying scales across the country.
The Sustainable Compact Settlement Guidelines gives Architects and urban designers an opportunity to develop best practice design responses to the challenge of high quality compact sustainable development and housing delivery. This will facilitate contextual responses to the design of infill developments and the development of innovative housing models which will in turn support city, town and village regeneration that will help us to meet the Climate Agenda.
Details of the Public Consultation
Public Consultation under Regulation 13(1)(b) of the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations 2004, S.I. No. 435 of 2004 (as amended by S.I. 200 of 2011)
In accordance with the European Union Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive (2001/42/EC) and the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations 2004, S.I. No. 435 of 2004 (as amended by S.I. 200 of 2011), the draft guidelines are accompanied by an SEA Environmental Report and Non-Technical Summary, and a public consultation is being carried out in accordance with Regulation 13(1)(b) of these Regulations.
Public Consultation under Regulation 42A(13) of the European Union (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No.293 of 2021)
In accordance with the European Union Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and Birds Directive (2009/147/EC), Appropriate Assessment has been carried under Regulation 42A of the European Union (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2021 (S.I. No. 293 of 2021), and public consultation is being carried out in accordance with Regulation 42(13) of these Regulations.
How to get involved
A copy of the Draft Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines for Planning Authorities; the SEA Environmental Report and Non-Technical Summary; and Natura Impact Statement and other relevant documents, are all available for public inspection on the Government of Ireland website and at the headquarters of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Custom House, Dublin 1, during office hours (9 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Thursday and 9 am to 5.15 pm on Fridays, excluding public holidays) from Thursday 31st August 2023 to 5 pm on Thursday 5th October 2023 (inclusive) .
If you wish to view the documents in person, please email email@example.com or call (01) 888 2000 and reference the consultation to make an appointment.
Members of the public are invited to make a submission or observation regarding the draft guidelines; the SEA Environmental Report and Non-Technical Summary; and Natura Impact Statement and other relevant consultation documents, during the period from Thursday 31st August 2023 to 5 pm on Thursday 5th October 2023 .
Submissions or observations in relation to the draft guidelines and the SEA Environmental Report and Non-Technical Summary
Submissions or observations in relation to the draft guidelines and the SEA Environmental Report and Non-Technical Summary can be made either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines Consultation
National, Regional and Urban Planning Section
Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Dublin 1, D01 W6X0
These submissions and observations will be taken into consideration before the finalisation of the draft guidelines.
Submissions or observations in relation to the Natura Impact Statement and other relevant consultation documents
Submissions or observations in relation to the Natura Impact Statement and other relevant consultation documents should be made directly to the Ecological Assessment Unit (EAU) of the National Parks and Wildlife Service either by email to EAU@npws.gov.ie or by post to:
Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines Consultation
Natura Impact Assessment
Room 2.23 Ecological Assessment Unit
National Parks and Wildlife Service
90 North King Street
Smithfield, Dublin 7, D07 N7CV
These submissions will be considered by the Ecological Assessment Unit (EAU) and will inform a determination pursuant to Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive.
The final date and time for responses in respect of this consultation is 5pm on Thursday 5th October 2023.
Please note that submissions received may be made available on the Government’s website. See the consultation Privacy Statement under the Documents link for further information.