Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Researching the obvious: Current trends in house building are at variance with the objectives of the NSS and RPGs

The Society of Chartered Surveyors has decided to wade in again to planning and development debate. Again with a study that does not quite seem to provide the necessary evidence. They tell us what we already know: again. That many of the current trends in house building are at variance with the objectives of the National Spatial Strategy and Regional Planning Guidelines will not come as a surprise to a single planner in the country. This time the answer, we are told, is that we need another planning Quango. Brilliant, another body at planning policy meetings, that’ll solve the problems … The idea of the Government, together with the various Local Authorities in the Greater Dublin Area setting up with immediate effect a separate body with complete and autonomous control over planning and development in the Dublin region is silly. What we need is to give teeth to the existing regional structures.

Also, again unsurprisingly, we are told that, rather than there being one ‘housing market’, there are now, in fact, a number of different markets caused by a growing segmentation, or ‘fragmentation’, of the housing stock which has an impact on future price trends. The SCS Housing Study 2007 also finds that it is, and will continue to be, necessary to maintain the increased housing supply levels in Dublin. This will allow choice of housing location preferences to be available to purchasers. So, another industry group says we need more housing! And that demand for it will remain until at least 2009 (due to current population growth and migration trends – of course). This industry groups further in the press release also tells us that there is a lack of suitably zoned land is, and will increasingly become, a problem and then, ironically, in the next sentence, tell us that Dublin urban sprawl is continuing, with the commuter belt now stretching out to 100 kilometres from the capital into outer Leinster and south Ulster.

The SCS Housing Study 2007, commissioned and published by the Society of Chartered Surveyors, has with this study, again, failed to deliver the main findings of their work in a clear way, but has chosen to use the opportunity to pull out the old Quango chestnut again. This is simply a poor press release which is a shame as some of the findings should be read.

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