SOME of Ireland's leading developers have had rezoning applications turned down in north County Dublin, as councils grow increasingly sceptical about future demand for housing.
North County Dublin is the most active planning area in Dublin and developers have very large land banks in the area. Gaining rezoning permission adds to the value of the land, although the benefits are far smaller since the collapse of the market in 2007.
Developer Gerry Gannon made five different planning submissions to Fingal County Council and not all were approved.
However, it is understood a highly ambitious scheme Mr Gannon has -- to move the main Royal College of Surgeons campus out to Belcamp -- remains a live project, pending approval from NAMA.
Such a project would cost €756m and provide thousands of jobs, but NAMA has the final say on all business plans by top developers like Gannon.
Gannon Homes, Treasury Holdings, the O'Flynn Group, Albany Homes, Shannon Homes, Blackrock International, Bovale Developments and Cosgrave Developments were just some of the companies making planning submissions to Fingal, which is drawing up a new development plan for the years 2011 to 2017.
The Irish Independent understands that apart from a small amount of rezoning at Tyrellstown and Lusk, most of the other rezoning applications submitted to the local authority were turned down.
The O'Flynn Group, for instance, was seeking rezoning of a site in Portmarnock, but this was turned down.
It is understood Fingal County Council has zoned residential land for 46,000 houses and has told developers that there is sufficient demand for the future. Many developers disagree and believe councils are operating on a short-term basis, without taking account of future housing demand.
Councils now have far less discretion on rezoning than they used to and development plans must be in alignment with national guidelines.
The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010, for example, imposes a raft of new restrictions on how councils operate.