In the light of a massive planning application for over 1,300 housing units on the Donabate peninsula, the Department of Housing needs to ensure there is no influx of applications for large scale housing developments before legislation governing the process expires, Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty has said.
Senator Doherty, who recently announced her intention to run in Dublin Fingal at the next General Election said: 'Legislation governing Strategic Housing Developments (SHDs) expires at the end of next year, having been previously extended under the last Government.
'SHDs were never intended to be a permanent development process and it is right that we are working towards the end of their usage. However an abrupt end, I believe, has the ability to cause further problems, not solutions, to our housing demands.
'With a 16-week application processing time, I fear that sometime early next year, we may see an onslaught of large-scale, and potentially rushed planning applications being put in for areas that are woefully unprepared for any such developments. I grew up in Ballymun, we all know how those blocks of flats without the necessary accompanying facilities ended, they ended in rubble.'
Citing the local example, she said: 'We have potentially already seen the start of this. In Donabate in North Dublin, residents are preparing to make submissions against 'fast-tracked' plans for over 1,300 housing units, including 1,015 apartments.
'If successful, this plan would see a 57% increase in housing units in this small village, and potentially the same increase in population.
'This type of development is totally unsuited for a village like this, one that is already lacking in basic amenities, and struggling with transport and congestion issues.
'These residents just want to ensure the quality of life they experience is continued and enhanced, and that any new residents can share in the same. Apartment blocks en masse in a village will not deliver this. The danger in the approaching SHD deadline is that many more communities may be facing the same battle.
'SHD arrangements have generally been a success in meeting their objectives to contribute to addressing housing undersupply issues over the course of the Rebuilding Ireland programme.'
Senator Doherty concluded: 'However, a planned and carefully orchestrated wind-down is needed to quell a potential tsunami of these large-scale developments being forced on small communities in inadequately prepared areas early next year.'