Sunday 13 October 2019

Upwards and inwards for new homes in cities while vacant sites to be seized

Sligo Town is being targeted for growth
Sligo Town is being targeted for growth
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

Ireland's population will be living in taller, smaller homes in existing built-up areas in our cities.

From making big promises to deliver 50,000 new homes to 2020, the Government is now talking about 500,000 to be built to 2040 under the National Planning Framework.

The plan seeks big changes for housing in the two decades ahead, both in regard to where it will be located and what type it will be.

Significantly, vacant sites will be seized to build new homes in our towns and cities to prevent further urban sprawl.

Councils and a new agency will be given sweeping powers to take control of strategic sites as part of efforts to curb the growth of our cities into the countryside.

The National Regeneration and Development Agency will develop state-owned lands for affordable homes, and will even take control of lands identified as suitable for housing.

It will also be able to take control of land to build the necessary infrastructure to open sites for development.

The overall plan acknowledges the lopsided development of greater Dublin compared with elsewhere. It envisages a greater proportion of the population housed in the four main cities going forward.

Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford cities are all earmarked for remarkable growth of "50pc to 60pc" in the next 20 years in order to enhance their potential to become "cities of scale" akin to Dublin, although the plan is light on this detail.

Meanwhile, both Sligo Town and Athlone are being targeted for growth to provide centres of critical economic mass and jobs in the Midlands and Northwest.

Project Ireland promises to:

'Build inwards and upwards rather than outwards.' This suggests high rise apartments. It cites, average household populations are set to fall to 2.5 by 2040.

Deliver at least half of all new homes in the big five cities within their existing footprints - suggesting a heavy use of existing buildings and sites.

Deliver at least 30pc of new homes targeted in settlements within their existing footprints.

Reverse town/village and rural population decline by encouraging new roles for buildings, streets and sites.

Reduce vacancy and reuse existing buildings.

The Framework states that between 2018 and 2040, at least 25,000 new homes will need to be provided in Ireland each year. Housing output will need to be frontloaded to provide 30,000 to 35,000 a year initially on average until 2027.

The speed of frontloaded provision increases to 45,000 new homes for Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford up to 2020.

Irish Independent

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