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The Minister for Housing has been told smaller gardens would be a ‘game-changer’ in solving Ireland’s housing crisis.

The Irish Times reports that Glenveagh Properties, one of the largest home builders in Ireland, has presented a plan to the Minister which would allow developers shave more than a quarter off the distance between the rears of houses.

An existing 22 metre guideline from back door to back door dates back to the 1900s – outhouses, fuel storage and vegetable growing were a popular use of the space in times gone by.

Glenveagh’s urging a reduction of the guideline to 16 metres to achieve more ‘low rise, high density’ developments in suburban areas around the country.

Managing director of Smith and Kennedy Architects, Joe Kennedy, says the suggestions have merit:

“If we’re building houses, it makes sense to have smaller gardens. I live in a house that has a garden that’s 40 square metres and it’s absolutely fine.

If we’re talking about houses, we can produce more houses per acre effectively. I asked one of my colleagues here to do a quick study on houses we’re working on here, and in one block we can go from 25 houses to 30 by making the garden smaller.”