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The role of planning in the future of ghost estates

  • 08-03-2011 5:52pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 2 connolly09


    Hi all. Im currently doing a dissertation on the role that planners and the planning authority can play in the future of ghost estates and other unfinished developments around the country. Should they be more active than just issuing enforcement notices etc? Any comments or opinions would be greatly welcomed.


Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    In Ireland we have a housing stock of c 1.9m units of which 0.35m are empty all or most of the time. It is a gross oversupply. Planning is futile, they should simply start demolishing them in many places or else let people move free into villages as long as they demolish rural houses they leave and greenfield/quarantine the old site.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,265 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    connolly09 wrote: »
    Hi all. Im currently doing a dissertation on the role that planners and the planning authority can play in the future of ghost estates and other unfinished developments around the country. Should they be more active than just issuing enforcement notices etc? Any comments or opinions would be greatly welcomed.

    The problem is, there is no future for many of these estates. There was never any demand for these house and many were only built because the government created an artificial demand for them through tax breaks, like Section 23. It was policies like this that fueled the property bubble and lead planners, developers, bankers, and people in general to believe that demand for (and the price of) houses would only increase. It is not as simple as saying there is an over supply of houses in this country, there is an over supply of houses in parts of the country where there will never, ever, be any demand for them. I am not sure if you have seen this thread on what to do with these ghost estates.

    From a planning point of view, most of these estates should never have been given the go ahead. Just like the government got gready for all the tax revenue the construction boom was generating, local authorities thought they had hit the jackpot with all the development levies they were raking in. Here is a post on how I think future planning should be determined if you are interested.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    The other problem with regards to planning is that political parties (in the form of local councillors) interfere all the time. There's plenty of land that was zoned against the advice of professional planners. For example there is enough zoned land in Kerry to house the population of Munster!!

    Alot of it was a racket, as value of land that had zoning went up compared to when it was just zone argiculture. Even leaving that aside the same councillors just basically got out the markers and didn't think about providing services such as:
    • Schools
    • Sewage
    • Foot paths
    etc etc.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    The councillors have no power in that.

    Every sewage and water scheme is centrally planned and goes through around 5 stages in Dublin and is funded by the Dept of Env bar the end bit ( construction) and cash is released in unpredictable dribs and drabs...usually to consultants to pretend something is happening.

    Councillors get to vote once every 3 years to rank their authorities schemes in order of priority and that is all. The rest of the time they firefight and listen to complaints on what is already there. Much meddling is for that reason.

    Same with schools and the Dept of Ed. Furthermore schools go in and out of fashion much quicker than you would imagine and schools that were empty 10 years ago could be rocking now and vice versa. The year to year demand tends to fluctuate enormously and parents think nothing of travelling 10 miles to a particular school. Therefore school construction is very dynamic and difficult to model save in very modern suburbs where the recent SEZ model ensures the school predates the houses not the other way round ...as in Adamstown and maybe some time in that Ardán vapourvillage in Galway.

    County Galway has enough physical classrooms for every schoolchild....but we still have prefabs because of this unpredictability.

    Councillors often find themselves conduits for whoever is roaring loudest at them, local authority staff are as ever waiting for the cheque from Dublin.

    Planning it ain't excepting an SEZ as I said. :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    The councillors have no power in that. Every sewage and water scheme is centrally planned and funded by the Dept of Env and cash is released in dribs and drabs...usually to consultants. Same with schools and the Dept of Ed. Furthermore schools go in and ouut of fashion much quicker than you would imagine and schools that were empty 10 years ago could be rocking now and vice versa. The demand tends to fluctuate enormously and parents think nothing of travelling 10 miles to a particular school. Therefore it is very dynamic and difficult to model.

    County Galway has enough physical classrooms for every schoolchild....but we still have prefabs because of this unpredictability.

    Councillors often find themselves conduits for whoeever is roaring loudest at them, local authority staff are as ever waiting for the cheque from Dublin. Planning it ain't :D

    Well my point is more they take out the yellow marker and rezone land (as you said generally who shouts loudest), without checking with anyone else regarding provision of services. Of course one could argue that if the the councils are given tax raising powers (say property taxes etc.) then some of this stuff could be "devolved" to them eg. In the US you the local schools are paid from the likes of property tax etc.

    If you ask me the whole prefab business is another racket but that should be a subject of another thread ;)


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    The real racket is that the dept of ed will order up a prefab based on a transient and rolling enrollment rather that distribute kids to where the classrooms already exist. Now they are planning to move the teachers around to where the demand (and prefabs) are.

    If there are enough physical classrooms and teachers in parish x then there should be no prefab in any of its schools...but every school can plan its own entrance policy and there is no structured planning so they take business off each other.

    The Dept of Ed has the spatial awareness of a petrified turd :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,265 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    I forgot to mention that this is from the new Programme for Government in case anyone is wondering where it came from;
    Building Schools for the Future
    This Government will prioritise school building projects in a revised national development plan.

    The objective of this Government will be to progressively phase out the inefficient renting of school prefabs. In the interim the negotiation of prefab rental contracts will be part of a reformed public procurement policy to encourage greater value for money, transparency and reduce dependency on temporary accommodation. The devolution of an annual capital budget to schools will be piloted to allow schools to plan for capital projects.

    The Department of Education’s central database of school accommodation will be overhauled to ensure a complete inventory of school buildings and associated structures is maintained so deficiencies are easily identifiable.

    In areas of demographic growth, Shared Educational Campuses will be the preferred model for future development of educational infrastructure. New schools will be built to grow with their communities and to provide for more interactive, child-friendly model of education.

    Local authorities will be required to complete Educational Impact Assessment on residential zoning, to identify potential need for schools.


    We will negotiate the transfer of school infrastructure currently owned by 18 religious orders cited in Ryan Report, at no extra cost, to the State. In principle, school buildings and land will be zoned for educational use, so that they cannot easily be sold and lost to system.

    It is a step in the right direction at least. It really should be extended to a Services Impact Assessment, to indentify potential (or in many cases, existing) need for sewerage, broadband, public transport, schools, etc.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    It is a step in the right direction at least. It really should be extended to a Services Impact Assessment, to indentify potential (or in many cases, existing) need for sewerage, broadband, public transport, schools, etc.

    Exactly. If it was a feckin snail the planners would want an impact statement but for housing they don't. And we have lots of local authority planners doing nothing nowadays...the only problem is that most of them are third rate geography graduates with socialisation 'issues' in my opinion :( There is nothing to stop them doing Services Density surveys though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭✭ resueman


    Hi Connolly09,

    I'm in GMIT at the moment doing a dissertation .. 'An investigation into the Ghost Estates of County Galway' Chances are you have stuff I need and I'm pretty sure the i've got stuff you need. Send me an email, [email protected]. I also have good contacts in Dublin Institue of Technology who have been really helpful in my dissertation.

    Look forward to your reply,
    Cian


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,221 BrianD


    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    Exactly. If it was a feckin snail the planners would want an impact statement but for housing they don't. And we have lots of local authority planners doing nothing nowadays...the only problem is that most of them are third rate geography graduates with socialisation 'issues' in my opinion :( There is nothing to stop them doing Services Density surveys though.

    Nonsense. The planners aren't the problems who consistently voted to rezone lands for the financial gain of "those who shouted loudest". They are directly complicit in the problems that we have now and the creation of NAMA.

    Once land was rezoned for housing there is nothing the planners can do. If it's zoned for residential then the planners can not turn down an application for residential development.

    Then the council has to step in and provide the services.

    The county councillors are directly responsible for both the ghost estates and the one off homes littering the country. We now have to subsidise all these developments through taxes and higher utility costs.

    The planners are certainly not third rate geography students and it is rather inept of you to suggest that they are. They are professionals who have their hands tied by gombeen councillors.


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