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Thursday 8 December 2016

Zonning frenzy brought us down - and made us finally see sense

Published 18/07/2011 | 05:00

THE maps would arrive in their hundreds, each accompanied by a letter urging the council to rezone the highlighted land for housing.

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"When a review of a development plan started, and people saw the notices in the paper, that's when the race started," one insider said.

Everyone with a few acres believed their land was ripe for a few houses or apartments.

And for the most part, city and county councillors obliged, zoning more than 44,000 hectares of land for housing, even though there was need for only a fraction of that.

Eventually the State was awash with unfinished developments and NAMA found itself lumped with €73bn of land and development loans.

We've finally come full circle, and are in the middle of moving to a system whereby land will only be earmarked for housing when there is clear evidence there will be enough people to live there.

Every council in the country has been told to introduce a 'core strategy' into their county development plans before the end of the year. This strategy sets out how many houses are needed over a six-year period, and how much land will be needed for them. And over the next year, the land for these homes will be identified in towns and villages.

Many landowners whose land does not fall into this bracket will find their property rezoned -- or made 'sterile' by the council not allowing it to be developed until at least 2018.

We've learnt the lessons of the past. Now we must make sure we never repeat our mistakes.

Irish Independent

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