Government Publishes the Sustainable Residential Development and Compact Settlements Guidelines for Planning Authorities

18 Jan 2024

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage published the Sustainable Residential Development & Compact Settlements Guidelines for Planning Authorities on 15th January. This follows two public consultations during 2023.

The Guidelines focus on sustainable residential development and the creation of compact settlements for urban and rural areas. They seek to minimise urban sprawl and utilise existing buildings and brownfield and infill sites to create ‘15-minute cities’ where possible.

The Guidelines offer an opportunity to achieve increased own door housing units and address high density housing delivery challenges. They will become effective immediately and have been issued as Ministerial Guidelines under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000. As such, planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála must have regard to these guidelines and apply the SPPRs in ‘the performance of their function’.

Local authorities will be required to review statutory development plans and consider whether these are in line with the new Guidelines that have been issued. Where the development plan is materially inconsistent with the Guidelines, the local authority is required to vary the development plan accordingly. For SDZ Planning Schemes, Section 170(2) of the Planning & Development Act will continue to apply and take precedence over these Guidelines (incl. SPPRs) until the Planning Scheme has been properly amended to reflect the changes set out within these Guidelines.

Density ranges for different settlement types (cities, towns and villages) across different locations are outlined within the new Guidelines. A full breakdown based on the different regions and settlement types can be found in Chapter 3 (pg. 21 onwards). The Guidelines do not provide for a review of density requirement based on population changes, nor do they stipulate that density would be suitable at the lower end of the range.

Development standards in the Guidelines are covered by SPPRs as follows:

  • SPPR 1 – Separation distances to be reduced to 16m (from the original 22m).
  • SPPR 2 – Relates to private open space provision in conjunction with bedrooms (not bedspaces as per the original draft guidelines). These are set out below:
  • 1 bed house: 20 sqm
  • 2 bed house: 30 sqm
  • 3 bed house: 40 sqm
  • 4bed + house: 50sqm
  • SPPR 3 – Covers car parking requirements. Car parking provision is based around the site’s location (defined within the document). These remain reduced and focus on the Government’s shift towards lower rates of car ownership.
  • SPPR 4 – Covers bicycle parking requirements. These relate to two key factors, quantity (no. of bedrooms) and design.


Public Open Space provision is set at a minimum of 10% of the net site area and is no longer listed as an SPPR.


Further information, including a Design Manual, is due to accompany the Guidelines and this will be published by the Department in due course.


The Guidelines can be accessed in full here

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