Saturday 19 August 2017

Building on shifting sands

WOULD you want to live in one of the country's estimated 650 ghost estates, homes that nobody wanted but were built anyway, most of them in rural areas where there was never any reason to anticipate significant demand? Now they lie empty, their future to be decided by the Government "in coming months", according to the planning minister, Ciaran Cuffe, yesterday.

Whether or not you would want to live in a ghost estate, do you think there should be an independent inquiry into the failure of the planning system that created them, and into the Government's failure to manage the property bubble?

These are two of many fundamental questions raised by a scathing report by the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), which is based in NUI Maynooth. The answer to the first question may help to explain why planning permission is still being given -- and thousands of houses and apartments still being built -- in parts of the country that contain swathes of abandoned housing projects. If developers are still building houses and apartments, it can only be because 'location, location, location' still has its attractions.

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