Submission by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce on Public Consultation on Draft ‘Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines for Planning Authorities’

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the ‘Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Urban Development and Building Heights’. The Chamber has long advocated through our policy papers, submissions and direct meetings with Government ministers for lifting the cap on height restrictions imposed in city centre locations most notably the Dublin Docklands. In principle, the Chamber offers its support to the key proposal contained within these guidelines that will extend the areas to which the height caps will be raised. The Chamber does recommend that final guidelines and regulations should be published simultaneously to government pronouncements to ensure no undue disruption to the market.

The Chamber derives its position from our meetings and interactions with our members, clients and key stakeholders from both sides of the Irish sea. We are the leading business group representing businesses with interests in the UK and Ireland. Our members employ over 2 million people globally and we look at every opportunity to help them grow in a pro-business, pro-employment and pro-community environment. Working on behalf of our members, the Chamber is committed to a proactive and constructive approach in proposing clear, nuanced and evidence-based solutions to the challenges arising as a result of Brexit and taking advantage of the emerging opportunities.

Accordingly, we are determined that Ireland (and not least Dublin) is in the best possible position to benefit from any potential opportunities presented to it by UK based firms needing to establish an EU base. Immediately after the UK Brexit Referendum, the British Irish Chamber worked with the Lord Mayor of Dublin on the ‘Greater Dublin’s Greater Than Ever #GDGTE’ initiative which marketed Dublin as a great place to set up and do business and highlights what the Greater Dublin Region has to offer to inward investor businesses looking to invest and establish in Dublin.  The Chamber brought together a number of business leaders, public representatives and Government to produce both a short promotional video and brochure. The Chamber welcomes the numerous job announcements and re-locations that have already commenced, and we are keen to play our part to ensure no momentum is lost. However, the feedback from Chamber members based in the UK is that the availability of residential accommodation in Dublin is of significant concern when they are considering Dublin as a location.

The Irish and Dublin economic recovery has been a phenomenal success story for the city and country and the macroeconomic indicators suggest that, IF we collectively ensure that capacity is in place, this should continue into future years. We also know that the Dublin population is set to rise by a current estimate of 286,000 by 2031 (and this may very well be exceeded –  but it won’t without adequate housing and without increased building height).  With this in mind a new approach to housing and residential accommodation is needed to ensure that society’s and the economy’s needs are met. We also know that action is needed to address the concern expressed by numerous of our job-creating Member Businesses that there is insufficient residential accommodation for their staff looking to re-locate to Dublin. This perception presents a clear and present disadvantage to Dublin amongst competitor cities and undermines the key message that ‘Dublin is Open for Business’

Independent research has found that developing an extra storey on a 1-hectare site would provide 20 additional residential units. Raising the height cap in suitable urban settings isn’t the only solution to address the far reaching social and economic challenge that urban sprawl and unaffordable accommodation has allowed fester but it is, in our view and that of our employment-creating member businesses, a giant step in the right direction.

If the Chamber can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,

John Mcgrane

Director General

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