Spotlight on unfinished estates

New directions for physical planning of the built environment post-Mahon Report, along with the future of the country’s ghost and unfinished estates, will come under a planners’ spotlight at month’s end.

They’ll be the strong twin themes at the National Planning Conference in Kilkenny, Apr 26 and 27.

It’s being billed as one of the most important events for several years, with long-term and strategic implications, and especially given the sharp focus on the country’s planning legacy — and the lack of it.

“It will examine the existing and future context of planning in Ireland and hear perspectives from national and international planning practitioners and others,” says Irish Planning Institute president Brendan Allen, noting the two-day conference will include speakers from NAMA and the National Housing Agency.

On the week in which a part-finished Co Cavan scheme of three almost complete houses and four acres got advance billing for an Allsops auction guiding a very low just €40,000, there’ll be a focus on what to do with other, larger, unfinished schemes, ranging from demolition to social housing and more innovative uses. Other IPI guest speakers will come from insolvency specialists.

NAMA’s Chris McGarry, planning and development adviser, will talk on NAMA’s relationship to unfinished developments, including site resolution plans, while the National Housing Agency’s chief executive John O’Connor, will give updates on the Unfinished Housing Developments National Co-ordinating team.

Housing Minister Phil Hogan will close the event (it’s in his own constituency too), and other speakers include Brian Motherway of SEAI and Marie Hunt of CBRE.

* The same weekend Ms Hunt will also address the annual conference of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers (IPAV), on Apr 28. Other speakers at IPAV will include Dara Deering of KBC Bank, and Dr Maria Hinfelaar, president of Limerick Institute of Technology.

Details: www.ipi.ie. www.ipav.ie

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