Developers in small towns

By | February 11, 2008

“Developers are being banned from tacking Dublin-style housing estates onto small rural villages unless they first provide extra schools and facilities for proper public transport.”

A Gormley initiative.

I wonder has he discussed this yet with Hanafin? I know of a developer who offered to build a school for free in a town, and the Departments of Environment and Education wouldn’t even DISCUSS it.

In Enfield meanwhile Meath Co. Council has offered to fund a refurbishment of Irish Rail’s car park to allow for extra parking spaces. Irish Rail won’t let them. It’s parking war as so many people want to us the bus and train. Perhaps Gormley would have a word with Dempsey?

My point? It’s a good headline and the right thing to do, but Ministers could help right now without headline grabbing bans.

21 thoughts on “Developers in small towns

  1. Rob Hickey

    I saw that in the paper as well and thought – thats not good thinking, thats just BASIC COP ON. Forcing developers to build infrastructure as well as houses should have been there from the very beginning.

    Think of West Dublin – plenty of houses and apartments but no schools and infinite estates all feeding the same main road leading to traffic congestion.

    Imagine if the people governing this country cared so much about planning that they were willing to make it their number one focus.

    West Dublin, planning…oh.

  2. Daniel K.

    Thing is though making the developer build the schools simply means the cost is going to be passed on to the people buying the houses. I thought all the population were paying tax in order to fund things like education which they either had or in the future would make use of. So now it is young families that are to pay for the building of the schools along making up the shortfall in the running and maintenance costs.

    And there is no certainty that the department of education will sanction the hiring of teachers for the school once it is built.

  3. Darren Mac an Phríora

    “Thing is though making the developer build the schools simply means the cost is going to be passed on to the people buying the houses.”

    The developer has knocked off €100,000 off the price of the new houses/apartments at the Phoenix Park Racecourse as has the developer for a new apartment block right beside the Phoenix Park in Castleknock.

    Unlike other areas of Dublin West these areas have the infrastructure… and people aren’t buying.

  4. Joseph

    The more and more time goes by the clearer it becomes that the green party are nuts and a real waste of political time and space

  5. Laura

    Is there a small town/rural village left in Ireland that hasn’t had a “Dublin style housing estate” tacked onto it? I’d be hard pressed to find any such small town or village that I visited in the last seven years without an estate in a field, no school places for all the children living in these totally car dependent estates, sewerage systems creaking under the strain, poor water pressure e.t.c. e.t.c. Horse. Bolted. Barn-door. Open. What use is a ban on something that has already been going on for the last decade or two? Gormley is really stupid. Surely a better thing to do would be to introduce infrastructure levies on developers rather than banning them from building homes. Or maybe Gormley’s agenda is to stop the decline in commuter belt town property prices by stagnating supply.

  6. Darren Mac an Phríora

    I don’t know how anyone apart from developers can disagree with John Gormley on this issue.

  7. update99

    Thats planning for you!

    Sure its a great little country!

    Irish people are so funny! No wonder the Nigerians laugh at us. They have good reason to!

  8. Colman

    Well, to be fair, the 100k was knocked off apartment blocks that are by my reckoning in Finglas, not Castleknock or set to be between a huge main road and a building site for some years. The original prices for them were *insane* – more than a 3 bed semi-d a couple of stops further out on the train.

  9. Gordon Davies

    In most countries local infrastructure is paid for out of local taxes and decided upon by local councils. This, together with any semblence of joined up planning, is so alien to the party that is leading the government that we can be sure that it won’t be happenning whilst they are in power. Gormley is right to try and prevent further damage – however the most effective way of doing this would have ben by denying the Builder’s Party a comfortable coalition.

    Laura might like to be reminded that the only available non Government dependent source of spending money for local councils is infrastructure levies from developers. This is perverse, because councils that impose asensible planning regime have less ressources that a coulcil that allows developers to do what they want.


  10. Darren Mac an Phríora

    “Well, to be fair, the 100k was knocked off apartment blocks that are by my reckoning in Finglas,”

    If the Phoenix Park racecourse development is in Finglas then so is the Halfway House. Neither of them are of course.

  11. Justin Mason

    ‘If the Phoenix Park racecourse development is in Finglas then so is the Halfway House. Neither of them are of course.’

    true enough. it’s the Navan Road. still not Castleknock…

  12. Darren Mac an Phríora

    As far as I’m concerned its Castleknock. Just because it is off the Navan road does not mean its not in Castleknock.

  13. Sarah M

    Sarah…Interesting move …we’ll see how it develops.
    The builder currently builds as part of their planning conditions a creche if the development is greater than 74 units, this has been in place for the past 4+ years. Prior to each sale closing the builder pays €11,000-€20000 per unit (depending on the county) to the local county council for water/sewer/public amenities/open spaces etc…These monies are supposed to be ring-fenced for the area in which the contribution to the council came from. Yet I am sure in many towns around Ireland, we dont see all the €€€ going back into the various towns. This doesnt grab much headlines. Also the builder provides 20% of their developement to either affordable / social housing.

    So….(1) Creche (2) Large monetary contribution to local authority
    (3) Social Affordable housing (4) Now schools…..

    whats next??

    The builder should not be forced to provide schools when its the County Councils / Governments job to do that. Yet again, the builder is the fall guy for the lack of forwarding thinking from the Government….

  14. Sarah Post author

    Good points especially the question of where contributions end up. No way do they benefit the local area. They get sucked into general administration. They should be ring fenced.

  15. Laura

    What use is it forcing developers to build a creche in a development with 74+ units however when you can’t find anyone to open a creche?

    I live in such a development and for two years the space allocated to the creche has had no tenant. The space allocated to the creche would be much better utilised for communal facilities. i.e. Laundry rooms (most developments ban laundry on balconies) or an indoor playing/meeting facility for the children living in the development.

    I think forcing developers to allocate space for a specific purpose (i.e. a Creche) is just daft and gives no thought to whether a creche is actually needed in its specified location or what impact creche traffic will have in the development in the long run.

    It would be much better to allocate a certain amount of empty space but then allow the management company to decide what to do with it when all units are sold and the communal areas have been taken over.

    Our empty “creche” area is just a total waste of what could be a usable resource for all people living in the development including those without children.

  16. Sarah M

    Laura….I agree with your sentiments but the builders are governed by rules of the County Council but the same rule shouldnt always apply as a general rule to all. Its not always necessary.
    I think its again, lack of thought for the necessities of a town.
    Dont start me on Management Companies!

  17. Gordon Davies

    Sarah M,

    Unfortunately, the Government has only a very passive role in providing education in this country. The initial cop-out so as not to upset the churches, pre independence, has been maintained by successive regimes ever since. It is the “patrons” who have the active role in intiating and maintaining school provision. The Government will not even provide funding to replace rt-infested pre-fabs.

    Until the Government and local authorities start taking on a more pro-active role then all the spin about the so-called knowledge based economy will remain a branch of atmospheric thermodynamics… hot air!


  18. Tom N

    We have already seen the Greens collapse on Ahern’s finances, why won’t they collapse on everything else?

  19. ragsyrudolph

    It is not only education that is suffering. The lack of community space and the development of “green space” within towns is causing problems within communities. The zoning of a recreational site within Gorey will cause future councils to spend unecessary money on building a community area after bad zoning has destroyed a perfectly good space. The short- sightedness is astonishing and the lack of ability or wish to deal with the problem is crazy. This is caused by land in town used for recreational activities zoned for mixed planning. The developers move in do a land swop and before you blink there is yet another fee paying, empty car park in town.

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