Thursday 8 December 2016

Planning reforms 'will not increase housing'

Published 08/09/2016 | 02:30

In a letter to Housing Minister Simon Coveney, the IPI opposed introducing a fasttrack planning system for large developments. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
In a letter to Housing Minister Simon Coveney, the IPI opposed introducing a fasttrack planning system for large developments. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Experts have warned the Government not to build housing estates in areas that don't have proper facilities or transport links.

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And the Irish Planning Institute (IPI) has also said that unless banks begin lending for development projects, there will be no increase in the number of houses being provided.

In a letter to Housing Minister Simon Coveney, the IPI opposed introducing a fast-track planning system for large developments.

It said that allowing estates of 100 units or more to be decided by An Bord Pleanála instead of local authorities would eliminate the right of appeal for local residents, and would not result in sustainable communities being created.

The Department of Housing had published "no evidence" setting out how use of the planning appeals board would reduce time frames in which planning permission could be achieved, it added.

Mistakes

It also warned against repeating the "mistakes of the past", where huge swathes of housing were built but no local services provided.

"The Institute is given to understand that housing authorities are coming under pressure to push forward unsuitable sites that are detached from services and the urban centres so that unit numbers can be maximised," the letter from IPI President Deirdre Fallon said.

"State lands offer the potential for housing. However, there must be a focus on the delivery of housing on sites more centrally located in the city or town."

The professional body insisted that the reason why homes were not being built was not due to delays in the planning system. Building costs had already been reduced through lower levies and a reduction in the number of units required for social housing.

"Reform of the planning system is unlikely to facilitate an increase in the supply of sustainable housing," it said. "Infrastructure and development finance remain the main impediment to housing delivery."

The Department of Housing said that "innovative measures" were needed to boost supply to 25,000 units per year. The current system took "too long" and the fast-track process would only apply for a "limited time".

Local communities could make submissions, and the local authority would retain a "major role" including providing information on a project's suitability.

Irish Independent

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