Changes needed to put city centre land to better use
LOCAL authorities have long struggled to get landowners to develop unused urban sites for housing. In the midst of a crisis, the move by the Government to reclassify lands is an astute one, as it effectively restates the powers already open to councils to make best use of these sites.
One of the big mistakes of the Celtic Tiger era was allowing towns and cities to extend across greenfield sites instead of using valuable but empty land banks close to public services. New thinking is needed in this regard, and that includes encouraging local authorities to tackle these sites and help restore them to productive use.
A report from Dublin City Council last year showed there was 174 sites across the city - sufficient for 800 three or four-bed semis, or thousands of family-friendly apartments.