Greens plan to de-zone boom development land

THE Green Party has revealed its strategy to end unnecessary property speculation by unveiling measures to de-zone swathes of development land lingering from the boom.

Today its members will indicate to their leadership what policy the parliamentary party should take into Oireachtas debates on NAMA next week.

Against that backdrop, Environment Minister John Gormley said he will be instructing local authorities to return to their county development plans and reconsider excessive zoning decisions.

At the party’s think-in in Athlone he produced figures which contrasted the amount of houses which could be built under current development plans against the likely demand arising from population growth.

It suggested there were enough houses provided for in developing regions to satisfy the market until 2031.

Dundalk was the most over supplied, with 32,970 homes zoned for, enough to meet demand until 2073.

Athlone can cater for its growth projections until 2069, Waterford City until 2072 and Cork City until 2052.

In all gateway areas there is zoning in place for 255,140 houses. Mr Gormley said only 63,957 will be required by 2013.

“You will see how in many cases we have totally over-zoned. That is unsustainable and we are ensuring, through the measures we are taking in tandem with the NAMA legislation, that that can not re-occur.

“We will never go back to the dark days of over-zoning and the property bubble,” he said.

To speed this up, Mr Gormley said the new planning and development bill will require local authorities to return to their development plans and insert a core zoning strategy to eliminate unnecessary land banks.

He denied this could feed another property bubble by restricting supply.

“This is a myth. This idea, and this was put out by developers at the time, that the reason we had a huge increase in housing prices was that there wasn’t enough zoned land. That wasn’t the reason. The reason was there was too much ready credit and we need to cut that myth immediately.”

The zoning measures were the latest attempt by the party leadership to parade its imprint on the NAMA process.

Green Party members will have to consider these ahead of the party’s non-binding vote on policy towards NAMA later today.


Louisa Earls is a manager at Books Upstairs, D’Olier St, Dublin, which is owned by her father, Maurice Earls.Virus response writes a new chapter for Books Upstairs

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