Sunday 27 April 2008

Property developer laments lack of planning

Much property development in Ireland has been badly thought-out, with poor quality building and few facilities, according to property developer Mick Wallace.

‘‘Too much of what’s been in this town [Dublin] for too long is bad quality, and that needs to be looked at again,” Wallace said. ‘‘It’s about time we stopped covering Meath, Wicklow and Carlow in concrete. I don’t think it’s good enough if we don’t care what we leave behind ourselves after we’ve built.”

Wallace was speaking at Dublin City Council’s ‘Maximising the City’s Potential’ conference in Croke Park last week.

‘‘We should be focusing a bit more on creating a strong society,” he said. ‘‘I see a lot of things that could be different, that should be different. We have a lot of housing estates without playing fields, a lot of apartment blocks without community facilities.

‘‘There are developers that have done some very good things but, in general, the developer has left a lot to be desired.”

Wallace said there seemed to be a power breakdown between government and councils, and that councils should be given more money and more authority.

He also criticised the 2002 decision by the government, to allow developers pay a fee in lieu of providing social and affordable housing.

He said that the original legislation that made developers provide social and affordable housing was a ‘‘wonderful idea’’, but that the government backed down on the deal after pressure from developers.

Wallace said that the scheme needed to be more flexible, to allow the delivery of more social and affordable homes. He said that, at times, the number of units being sought under the legislation made developments ‘‘unbankable’’.

‘‘We could use greater density and height, as well as ensuring community gain,” he said.

Sunday Business Post

No comments: