Sunday 22 October 2017

'Apartment height restrictions hinder supply - they should be 15 storeys in cities,' says Nama

Proposal: Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh. Photo: Tom Burke
Proposal: Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh. Photo: Tom Burke

Laura Lynott

Restrictions on the height of apartment buildings are limiting the supply of much-needed housing, Nama's chief executive has warned.

Brendan McDonagh told the Finance Select Committee that height restrictions "are no longer appropriate given current and prospective housing needs".

He argued a "city centre apartment development project that is not commercially viable at six to seven storeys is more likely to be commercially viable at, say, 12-15 storeys".

"Amending height restrictions to 15 storeys in city centre locations and to 10 storeys in suburban areas merits serious consideration," he said.

He also urged the planning authorities to exclude underground car parking from some city-centre residential developments, claiming they are an additional cost burden on developers. Basement parking costs are estimated to add "about €30,000 per car space to development costs", he said.

Meanwhile, the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness heard Dublin City Council could become the first local authority in the country to push for a new affordable housing model to benefit buyers in their late 20s and 30s.

The committee also heard that 80 families a month are entering homelessness.

The executive manager with responsibility for the housing programme in Dublin City Council, Tony Flynn, said: "Our housing land initiatives are currently out to tender, they'll provide an affordable element."

Mr Flynn said Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) were a "last resort" but, in a bid to answer the crisis, 11 CPOs had been completed in Dublin and the owners of 144 derelict homes were being pursued to bring properties back into use.

The committee also heard that a Dublin housing body had delivered 70 homes back to the council and 17 council tenants had volunteered their local authority homes for the use of others and moved into elderly accommodation.

"There's also scope for vacant shops to look at as a change of use," Mr Flynn added.

Eileen Gleeson, director of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, told the Oireachtas meeting that 80 families are entering homelessness per month in Dublin. At the end of October last year, 813 family households were in emergency accommodation, commercial hotels and B&Bs.

Between this period and the end of June this year, 842 households were moved "to more appropriate accommodation" and a further 543 would be moved from July to September.

Irish Independent

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