Irish Planning Institute                                                       PLANNING ISSUES                            ...
Planning News                                                                                           The event closed w...
Sounding Offcountryside) were serviced by on-site        contemporary     architecture-designed     mitigate his actions b...
President’s Column                                          established over the past few years       address issues of co...
President’s Columnwe employed our first planning intern.     IPI is in a continuing dialogue with         voice in seeking...
President’s ColumnContinuing ProfessionalDevelopmentThe IPI introduced a voluntary CPDsystem at our 2009 AGM. We considert...
Analysis                                             of adoption. A Facebook or Twitter          top-down developer (NAMA)...
AnalysisSustainable urbanism must be at the        the town centre; the regeneration of      money back with a predictable...
AnalysisMcGregor, a chef who is faced with         The decision by central government        promotional job to be done in...
Analysis                                            increased the level of employment          Spatial Strategy (NSS) was ...
AnalysisThe legacy                                NAMA is an asset management                approval or rejection. If pla...
Analysispowers to that of NAMA indicating         sought       and      received     written   Discussions have taken plac...
Analysisminimum reserve price (independently       analysis of the strategic strengths          viable i.e. student accomm...
Analysisexpects non-participating institutions        consider asking Local Authorities          the fundamental requireme...
Editorial - Making Use of the “Downtime”T        he RIAI president Paul Keogh      planning officer or the public due to  ...
The Irish Property Market Collapse: The Cause, the Legacy, NAMA & the role of Planning
The Irish Property Market Collapse: The Cause, the Legacy, NAMA & the role of Planning
The Irish Property Market Collapse: The Cause, the Legacy, NAMA & the role of Planning
The Irish Property Market Collapse: The Cause, the Legacy, NAMA & the role of Planning
The Irish Property Market Collapse: The Cause, the Legacy, NAMA & the role of Planning
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The Irish Property Market Collapse: The Cause, the Legacy, NAMA & the role of Planning


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Article in the Irish Planning Institute Annual Publication: Planning Matter Autumn 2011 Issue, which appears on pages 10 – 14.

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The Irish Property Market Collapse: The Cause, the Legacy, NAMA & the role of Planning

  1. 1. Irish Planning Institute PLANNING ISSUES Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011NEWS - Irish Planning Institute YoungPlanners Network Launch EventS ustainable travel, new urban initiatives and learning from past mistakes were all central themes of an interesting and extremely well-attended IPI YoungPlanners Network launch event entitled ‘Planning forEconomic Recovery’ on 6th October last. Hosted in thesalubrious Convention Centre Dublin, high-profile speakerson the night included Andrew Montague, Lord Mayorof Dublin; Frank McDonald, Environment Editor of ‘TheIrish Times’; and, Ciarán Cuffe, former Minister of Statefor Planning and Climate Change. Each presentationwas diverse and informative, and culminated in a paneldiscussion with questions from the audience.Following a brief welcome and introduction from BrendanAllen, President of the Irish Planning Institute, the LordMayor of Dublin spoke of the importance of making oururban centres attractive, the organisation of space andlearning from the challenges of urban decay in recentdecades. The issues and challenges faced by the ‘ratessystem’ in Ireland reflected the diversity of considerationsin urban planning, while the opportunity represented bythe houses of Georgian Dublin was also discussed. Theimportance of access to services and facilities, permeabilitythroughout urban areas and the promotion of cycling(such as the hugely successful DublinBikes scheme) gaveall attendees plenty of food for thought.The Lord Mayor of Dublin was followed by Frank McDonald,who spoke of the imperative of avoiding past mistakes andthe egregious planning errors which totally ignore principlesof sustainable development. Controversial schemes suchas the Casino/Leisure Development at Two-Mile Borrisin Co. Offaly, the proposed National Children’s Hospitalat the Mater site in Dublin (a Strategic InfrastructureDevelopment) and roads proposals at Ennistymon, Co.Clare were all used as case study examples. Mr. McDonaldspoke of the need to rebalance revenue in Dublin and CONTENTS AT A GLANCEelsewhere to facilitate worthy schemes rather than thosewhich destroy their environs.Ciarán Cuffe completed the terrific line-up, with a clever Planning News 1collection of ’10 things a young planner should know’. Mr. Sounding Off 2Cuffe spoke briefly under strands such as the importance of President’s Column 4a directly elected Mayor (Power to the People), the inclusion Analysis 7of children in the planning process, the opportunities for Editorial 15fairness and synergies through NAMA activities, and thevalue of high density development (and not necessarily Irish Planning Institute News 16high rise), interweaving international examples throughout.
  2. 2. Planning News The event closed with a panel discussion covering numerous topics, from Core Strategies to the Smart Economy, from the Port Tunnel to what planning can achieve…and everything in between! A tour of the Convention Centre Dublin followed by a social tipple brought an end to a very successful and well organised event. Roll on YPN’s next event on 4th November: a Skills, Training and Career Guidance Seminar (see www. for more details on this FREE event). Stephen Purcell, MIPI Stephen Purcell MIPI is a member of the Committee of the IPI Young Planners Network and is an Associate with Downey Hynes Partnership.Sounding OffAnother Speech from the Dock!By our court correspondent, Dorian Ladydateline May 19th 2013I t was a very busy day today in Court no. 4. Arraigned At the start of the hearing, which was presided over before the court were two public representatives, well by Judge Manchester of the newly-created Environmental known to the media, and to the general public as Court, the Counsel for the State called an importantwell, not least because of their public statements on this witness, Stefan von Schadenfreude, who was theissue over the past few years. Needless to say, the press Department’s Chief Investigator. This witness outlined, bygallery was full, not only of the usual rather cynical court affidavit and verbally on oath, how the two defendantsreporters, but also of the more fly by night general reporters, had wilfully and deliberately encouraged others to obstructseeking “colour pieces” for their media publications, as his staff from investigating the pollution of surface waterswell as a smattering of political reporters, looking for juicy on a number of holdings in the West of Ireland over atitbits. I will leave it up to you, gentle reader, to decide in period of years. Herr von Schadenfreude stated that,which category your correspondent may be placed. I can as a result of these actions, he had been instructed byonly say that none of the journalists could have expected the Ministry to investigate the sanitary provisions of thewhat was to occur, and it cannot be doubted that the public representatives’ own properties. He had discovered“polls” got enough to keep them going for some time….. that the properties (both one-off houses in the openPlanning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011 2
  3. 3. Sounding Offcountryside) were serviced by on-site contemporary architecture-designed mitigate his actions by reference toeffluent treatment systems (he used a new courts building does not have long forgotten history, which wasdifferent phrase, involving the German docks, as such, but rather planed light better left forgotten, as it was noword “Scheiße”). oak timber benches), and laid forth. longer relevant in a modern Ireland. He stated that he was not taken inThe outcome of these investigations Not accepting the jurisdiction of the by this self-serving “faux ruralism”,were that the two public representatives court (a well-worn Republican tactic), especially from someone born in thehad failed to ensure that their on-site the defendant called on the proud leafy suburbs of south Dublin. He saidfacilities had been subject to the so- legions of patriots that had fought that the rule of law had to take itscalled “NCT for Septic Tanks” regime tyranny against the oppressors of the course, notwithstanding the defendant’sthat had been put in place by the “plain people” of Ireland. He argued “pedigree”, as all Irish People had toDepartment for the Environment and that his actions were motivated by a be equal before the courts establishedEuropean Directives (DEED) in 2012, “True Patriotism”, which was “rooted by the Constitution.and further that they had failed to in the sacred soil” over which manypay the registration fees to their generations of Irishmen had fought The Judge sentenced the defendantrespective Councils in that year and to wrest from the invader. He said to five years imprisonment, the highestthe following year. They had also that what he was doing, as a public sentence the legislation allowed,refused to allow access to their lands, representative that had been “chosen” remarking that this would hopefullywhen the District Court had ordered by the people, was to fight the latest convince the thousands of peoplemandatory inspection and testing of invader. He said that the legislation whose cases had been adjournedtheir discharges. What was worse, in question had been foisted on the in Circuit Courts in the Western andaccording to Herr von Schadenfreude, Irish Parliament by the “urban-based Northern Circuits to think again.was that these discharges, when tested bureaucrats and bearded intellectualsunder Garda protection, had proven from Brussels” and their lackeys, the As this scribe left the courthouse,to be contrary to the provisions of West Brits now ensconced in Merrion and the defendant was led away tothe legislative requirements, and had Street. He declared that it was for Mountjoy, to the anguished howlsled to measurable pollution of the issues such as this that the Spirit of of the people in the “temporarylocal streams. the Nation had been preserved in FF tent village” in Parkgate Street places such as Connacht. He stated outside, I chanced upon Herr vonIn response, the first public that this legislation was “alien to the Schadenfreude. He appeared to berepresentative, through her counsel, Irish Race” and an attack on “rurral smiling. (But is often difficult to tellstated that, as a member of the EU peeeepul”, who should be entitled to with these foreigners who rule ourParliament, she had immunity from do whatever they like with their own lives these days).national and local legislation, citing the properties under the Irish Constitution.recent “Commission – v- S. Berlusconi” In a closing flourish, he said that he by a Membercase in the European Court of Justice. was happy to go to jail, to fight forThe Judge, reluctantly, accepted that the true Irish way of life. After all,this ECJ case was binding on Ireland, he said, there was no evidence thatand that therefore she was to be he had done any harm, apart to adischarged (though expressing the few birds and newts, and anyhow, ancomment that if the case was not so “organic water supply never did ourbinding, he would have found for the forebears any harm - shure didn’t itprosecution). toughen them up to do away with 900 years of British oppression....It neverHowever, in the case of the second did his grandfather any harm”.defendant, the Judge ruled that there IMPORTANT NOTEwas no similar immunity available to There was an audible intake of breath FROM THE EDITOROireachtas members, and asked the in the Court after this outburst,TD in question if he had anything to and then a tickle of applause from Please note that the viewsoffer in defense. There then ensued some of the hacks present (whichwhat can only be described as a new was quickly silenced). The rest of expressed in this magazine“Speech from the Dock”, in the style us, professionals all, waited on the are the personal views of theof Robert Emmet, O’Donovan Rossa Judge’s decision. Judge Manchester individual contributors andand other “heroes” from Irish history. rose and pronounced sentence. Not do not necessarily reflect at all impressed by the speech from the views of the InstituteThe TD (who cannot be named the dock, the Judge noted that the nor of the contributor’sfor legal reasons), rose to his defendant had failed to deny the employer.significant height from the bench (the charges, but rather had sought to 3 Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011
  4. 4. President’s Column established over the past few years address issues of concern to them. and I think most people will agree it Employment issues are clearly the is very successful in terms of what biggest area of concern for the YPN it has achieved and it has certainly members. The YPN is particularly made services available to members focused on planning students and at a local level. The branches are recent graduates. The Institute will still continuing to evolve and I was continue to support the YPN in its very pleased to be asked to formally programme and objectives and would launch the new North East Branch hope that it will evolve into a branch in on 13th October, which involved a the future. Of course what constitutes visit to the Indaver Waste to Energy a “young planner” is a matter of Facility in Duleek, Co. Meath. The opinion - there is no guarantee the initiative for this branch came from a President will even make the cut. core group of planners in the region I had met a good number of the a few months ago and through the YPN attendees when we visited the hard work of this group the branch Planning Schools in UCD and UCC in is now established. Whilst the branch early October. We met students andBRENDAN ALLEN, MIPI primarily serves those planners living staff who made us very welcome and and working in Counties Meath, Louth, were keen to show the good workI was elected in June 2011 as Monaghan and Cavan, planners from that is taking place in the colleges. President of the Irish Planning outside these areas are welcome to Personally I was very impressed that Institute for the year 2011-2012. participate in events. Meath and Louth students are upbeat and positive andI am now 3 months into my term were formerly part of the GDA branch are producing high quality President and the workload has for a number of years but decidedcertainly taken off after a quiet they needed to break free; rumour At that event I announced that the IPIsummer. I am looking forward in has it that Dublin’s recent football and the New Zealand Planning Institutethe year ahead to representing the success was the final straw for them. formally signed a mutual recognitionbest interests of the Institute and the agreement at our council meeting onplanning profession. Whilst there are In addition to the new North East 6th October. Unfortunately I didn’t getmany challenges both for us as a Branch, I formally launched the a trip to New Zealand out of it as ourprofessional institute and in spatial Young Planners Network (YPN) on 6th new treasurer is not very generous withplanning in general, I believe that October at a very well attended event the funds. It is a particularly importantwe are well equipped to deal with in the very plush Convention Centre milestone as it is the first time wethese challenges as we have a well in Dublin (the same venue which have signed a bi-lateral agreementorganised, well supported and strong hosted the Queen). The importance with another national institute. Bothprofessional institute. of the event is highlighted by the institutes were very keen to sign fact that the Lord Mayor of Dublin the agreement in order to facilitateI propose to continue with and build (Andrew Montague) took the time to movement of planners between bothon a number of initiatives started by give a very interesting and thought countries. Whilst traffic is likely to bethe previous Council. The President’s provoking address to the audience, one way for the immediate future theRoadshow in particular was a very despite having a very busy schedule agreement makes it much easier forsuccessful initiative which achieved a that particular day. As part of the Irish planners to work as planners innumber of objectives of the Council event Frank McDonald and Ciarán New Zealand as they will be able toin terms of; hearing the views of our Cuffe participated in an interesting swap their IPI membership for NZPImembers, obtaining views on what and lively panel discussion. We did of membership with relatively little hasslefuture direction and policies the IPI course retire after the formal event to and take up work much quicker. Theshould follow, giving support to the an adjacent hostelry where the young NZPI have advised us that there areefforts of the branches, establishing planners showed a few older planners very good opportunities for Irishthe health and activity of branches, how to have a good time. I would like planners in New Zealand. Now thatas a way of assisting in retaining and to thank all involved for giving their we have signed this agreement weexpanding membership of the IPI but time and support to young planners hope it will be easier for us to pursuemost importantly actually meeting and particularly the YPN Committee. similar agreements with the Australianand talking to our members. One of Whilst not a formal branch the YPN and possibly the Canadian Planningthe main themes which emerged out is vitally important to the future of Institutes.of the roadshow was the need for the IPI as this is the future of ourstrong branches so that services can profession. The purpose of this network The Institute itself is attempting tobe delivered locally to members. is to allow our younger members from assist young planners through our all sectors and employment areas own internship programme. WeThe branch structure has been to come together to deal with and commenced this in March 2011 whenPlanning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011 4
  5. 5. President’s Columnwe employed our first planning intern. IPI is in a continuing dialogue with voice in seeking to achieve this. WhenThe purpose of the internship is to members to ensure we make available the preliminary Census 2011 resultsprovide some planning experience to the necessary CPD opportunities and were published the Irish Times carrieda recent graduate by working with the that tangible benefits accrue to our a short interview with me where IIPI on a part-time basis. We intend members and their employers. stressed that very point in the contextto continue this for the foreseeable of the population growth that hasfuture and we have received positive For the year ahead we plan to taken place, particularly that in thefeedback from many members in this maintain a comprehensive range of GDA. Given the type of developmentregard. member services including CPD events that took place during the Celtic Tiger and our flagship National & Autumn years it is essential that long termAt a European level the IPI has always Conferences - the Autumn Conference strategic regional planning is takenbeen a strong supporter and member has just taken place on 21st October seriously so that we set out how weorganisation of the European Council based around the very topical and want the country to develop in theof Town Planners (ECTP), and there often complex theme of Appropriate next 15 to 20 years. We are continuingis great respect for the IPI amongst Assessment. I was pleased to see so to engage with Minister Penrose andECTP member organisations. This has many of you at the event. We are his advisers in relation to planningculminated in two recent successes, conscious that costs of attending matters. Whilst the economic climateHenk van der Kamp has been elected events should not be prohibitive and is not favourable, it is apparent thatto the Executive Committee of the ECTP in that regard we continue to support good planning is very high on theand Philip Jones has been selected to branch events so that CPD can be Minister’s agenda and he is keen tobe a judge for the European Planning delivered locally at a low cost. Whilst continue to engage with the Institute.Awards, you may remember this event we do try to keep national conferencewas held in Dublin Castle in 2008. fees at an affordable level we do In order to achieve the objectivesI will be representing the IPI at the have to balance that with ensuring of the Institute, a strong IPI Councilupcoming ECTP Autumn Assembly to the Institute raises enough income to is essential. As President I am verybe held in Paris in early November. fund our running costs so that we fortunate that the majority of outgoing can deliver the type and quality of council members have remained onThe real value of the Institute is services which are expected. Council, thereby providing for goodensuring that as a profession we continuity from the previous year.have a strong collective voice in Looking externally, the Institute The full IPI Council for the year andpromoting best practice in Irish exists of course not only to serve assigned roles are detailed on thePlanning. It is important therefore its membership but also to give website.that we maintain and expand our strong leadership on matters relatingmembership to give us that voice to planning and development in I want to remind members that whilstand this will be a priority in the year Ireland. We are a ‘planning’ Institute we on the IPI Council have made theahead. We are aware that there are rather than a ‘planners’ Institute. We choice to serve on Council and aremany planners who are not members therefore recognise and are willing to committed to developing the Institute,of any professional planning institute engage positively with the many other we can only achieve so much on ourwhich is somewhat disappointing stakeholders in the planning arena own as we all have work and personalin terms of the development of the and will continue to do this on your commitments. The IPI has over 700planning profession in Ireland. We are behalf. I feel that a key message from members many of whom have a widealso aware that a number of local the previous president needs to be range of skills and experience. Whilstauthorities and other public sector reiterated to allay any fears that the you may not wish to be involved inbodies are prepared to reimburse Institute is not standing up for the Council or Committees there are manymembership fees for IPI membership planning profession. We will continue areas where council would benefitas part of PMDS in the public sector. to advocate that there can be no from your skills and experience (e.g.Whilst there are a number of public ‘stepping down’ of the planning system IT, conferences, local branch, CPD,and private sector organisations who - as advocated by some others outside research, etc.). I wish to appeal tohave being doing this for years, I would the planning system - just because members to assist the IPI in whateverparticularly like to commend Meath the ‘Celtic Tiger’ years are gone. To way they can in the coming year soCounty Council who wrote to the IPI do so would miss the very point of that we can continue the momentumstating that they have recently set up what a good planning system seeks which has been apparent over thean initiative where they will reimburse to achieve. It is important that we past few years.subscriptions to the IPI where the staff have a well structured and resourcedmember undertakes 5 days of CPD planning framework that can play its There are a number of specificper year. This ties in very well with important part in ensuring a good initiatives I would like to bring to yourthe establishment of the North East quality of life for our citizens into attention:Branch whereby CPD can be delivered the future. This Institute will continuelocally as well as nationally. The to be a balanced and constructive 5 Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011
  6. 6. President’s ColumnContinuing ProfessionalDevelopmentThe IPI introduced a voluntary CPDsystem at our 2009 AGM. We considerthis to be a very important first steptowards the development of theplanning profession in a similar mannerto other professions. There are variousways in which the necessary CPDpoints can be achieved and we hopethat members will support this initiative.Autumn Planning Conference 2011We held a very successful autumnconference on 21st October 2011 in theGibson Hotel in the Dublin Docklands.It was a great new venue which wewill no doubt return to in future. Thetheme of the conference was basedaround the subject of SEA and AA.This is an area that is constantlyevolving due to the many demandsbeing placed on the planning systemby the conveyor belt of EuropeanDirectives and case law. Many Conor Skehan (Chairman of the Peatlands Council / Lecturer at the DIT School of Spatial Planning) suggestspractitioners shared their experience a practical approach to Appropriate Assessment for Planners at the 2011 IPI Autumn Conferenceof how AA and SEA is currentlycarried out and what will be required Dinner in the Clarence Hotel is set format and content for 2012. Pleaseof us in future. Conor Skehan in his to continue this year with the dinner email info@irishplanninginstitute.presentation took us into the future scheduled for 11th November 2011. ie with any suggestions or papersby suggesting that with all the current I would hope to welcome as many that you may have in mind.and emerging legislation (landscape, members as possible to this event.ecology, flooding, water catchments, London Field Trip 2012etc.) the country side could be tied National Planning Awards 2012 It is hoped to organise a trip to Londonup in red tape and bureaucracy for Many of you will be aware of the in early 2012 based around visitingyears, whilst Peter Carvill from NPWS National Planning Awards and indeed the Olympic facilities. Whilst this is ininformed the delegates that based on some of you may have submitted its early stages of planning we wouldcurrent legislation, farmers could even entries. The awards have been welcome expressions of interest fromneed permits to plant certain types of revamped this year with awards members so that we can have somecrops or to keep certain types of pets! across a wide variety of categories. ideas of numbers. We would of courseOn a positive note, Conor encouraged Judging of entries will take place over like to invite any members workingplanners to rise and meet the various the coming months with an awards on the UK to participate in the trip.environmental and developmental ceremony to be held on February The above is only an indication of the mainchallenges and to grasp the 2012. I am delighted to see that we events proposed for the coming year.opportunity by preparing “integrating have a record number of entries thisrural strategies” to deal and plan for year which shows the interest and Whilst it is not always apparent tosustainable rural development, whilst enthusiasm for good planning in Ireland. members, there is a huge level ofstill meeting all environmental and activity going on in the IPI and youlegal requirements. As Conor pointed National Planning Conference 2012 can follow what we do on Facebookour, planners are uniquely skilled to Initial plans have commenced in and on the website (which we hope todo this. I intend to take the messages organising our annual National upgrade in the coming months). I lookarising from this conference and raise Planning Conference in Kilkenny in forward to continuing what has so farthem with the relevant ministers so April 2012. Last year’s conference been a busy and interesting year asthat planners are seen as the problem was well supported and we varied the IPI President and meeting as manysolvers rather than portrayed as format by introducing parallel streams of you as possible at various events.the problem, as is often the case. as well as a discussion forum. We have had positive feedback in this regard.Annual Dinner 2011 The Institute would like to invite any Brendan Allen, MIPIThe tradition of holding the Annual comments our suggestions on the President, Irish Planning InstitutePlanning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011 6
  7. 7. Analysis of adoption. A Facebook or Twitter top-down developer (NAMA). There will have risen and perhaps fallen over is not enough regulatory, creative or the course of a plan’s life (remember fiscal space for innovative communities Bebo?). So, what are we doing now to prosper. E. F. Schumacher’s “Small ... about now? How do we encourage Is Beautiful” has never been so investment, innovation, improvements, relevant. autonomy and the economy? What is our role? Manage the Town as a Priority There needs to be a mental shift Proactive Leadership & Governance from ‘development management’ Councils have a responsibility to set to ‘town management’. If it is the the tone for planning and development: vision of a local authority to make the strategic messages that affect a town better (encouraging vitality, every action of the institution. viability etc) then it has to do things However, most corporate thinking is to make it happen. This may include at least twenty years out of date. Ring Town Centre Partnerships, Business roads are still cited as a regeneration Improvement Districts, share capital,RICHARD HAMILTON, MIPI investment. An organisation doesn’t Local Development Vehicles etc, become ‘smart’ by giving a new label extraordinary temporal rate increases,Things Planning Should to the things it does and always has rate relief, incentive based contributionDo done. schemes, or just shaking-up budgets to redirect expenditure.Current media reference to planning What County Manager has come outis only able to comprehend that the and said they want to have the most There is plenty of space in of planning is zoning. cycle lanes per person in the EU in their But it needs to be made into the rightBut do we have any other ideas as town, or that they want to dedicate kind of space for leisure, education,planners? Some food for thought: their town centres to space for people retail and residential requirements. or promote independent shops? The This requires effort. Planners need toPlan for the Present point is that innovation is not always be responsible for this, to know what‘Now is the time to plan for the future’ about IT start-ups, iconic architecture the town needs, and how it can beis a well-worn mantra trotted out by or vision statements. But it always delivered.the development professions over good and proactive governance, andthe last number of years. It brings strong partnerships: Make towns more attractive thanto mind a memorable presentation suburbs/rural livingby David Engwicht at Cultivate’s “....for great things to happen People must want to live in towns;Convergence festival in June 2010. He people have to learn to help each unloved & dismantled by modernistsatirically noted ‘…how fortunate for other. The stereotype of the selfish planning, architecture and engineering.these experts to have such foresight, backstabbing ‘Apprentice’ does not Thirty years of neglect andand know what lies ahead!’ thrive in an enterprising community mismanagement1 provide an exit-pass – though they may do well in The to retail, housing and businesses.The property phenomenon, that any City. Successful citizens in the We need to reassemble the town,action now constitutes a ‘fire-sale’ in enterprising community learn to and fundamental to that is to keeplieu of a better future, is symptomatic of associate, collaborate, cooperate people living there, and re-populatinggrand self-delusion. We face systemic and mutualise. To find those with the centres. For this to happen, theand profound changes in land use whom there is a common cause. centre has to be made more attractivethat are possibly beyond economic And they understand that giving and present better opportunitiesrecession. Is the only response to help to others is as important as than the suburban equivalent. Thebe more crisis management, or wait getting help themselves. The have grass verge in most housing estatesfor the next phase of the boom and the “Go-Giver” mindset and they is more attractive than most urbanbust? express it through their actions. streets. We need to provide plots at They live it.” cheap prices and encourage self-buildWhat development plan faces the projects with proactive design codes.challenges of the next one to five Towards the Enterprising Have we got the right tools for thisyears, not the next twenty? Indeed, Community, 20 May 2011 (http:// urban acupuncture [Jamie Lerner]?how can it? These increasingly documents are conceivedin red tape, where any life support for We have a top-down hierarchicalinnovation or creativity, is sucked out governance structure. This problemin the course of the arduous process is exacerbated by having a centralised 7 Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011
  8. 8. AnalysisSustainable urbanism must be at the the town centre; the regeneration of money back with a predictable return.heart of urban renewal, adaption and failed suburbs expected to help failed So what is to stop local authoritiesinnovation. Planners (and landlords) centres. We know it doesn’t work or communities progressing water orneed to work hard to facilitate renewal, that way. energy utilities that they can investand make it less complex (financially, Don’t plan to solve traffic congestion in through bonds or shares? Therelegally and physically). Cities and towns have a limited are examples of successful projects amount of space for which we compete such as Hørshom Waste to Energy inPlant street trees (pedestrians, cafes, vendors, buses, Denmark and Fintry Development TrustThis is so important and fundamental bikes). People want to be able to (Public Private Energy Trust) Scotlandto successful urban places, that it drive their car from beside their bed (windfarm). Communities and localshouldn’t need to be mentioned. Street to their desk (paraphrasing Manuel authorities should be able to maketrees are easy and cheap to achieve Díez-Garrido,). Traffic congestion is money on infrastructure developmentand can have a transformative effect a symptom of this competition. Road and save costs on bills - after it’son places. They are more beautiful engineers have done great damage built.and cheaper than street furniture and attempting to solve it. So prioritieshard landscaping. have to be set for that ‘space’ which Planners are good at doing things exists between buildings – the street. outside the box, leading innovativeOnly set objectives in a plan that We should expand the network of thinking and proactive initiatives.can be followed by direct action streets, and reduce the blockages (L. The planning system needs to beIt’s time to scrap the MBA style vision Krier) so that everyone can benefit structured to support this economicstatement. The core objective of a from the investment, and public role we play.plan should be clearly understood, streets created.and achievable through a set of direct Richard Hamilton, MIPIactions or measures. Development InfrastructurePlans that have achieved social My bills from ‘Panda’ suggest my Richard Hamilton MIPI is the Principalisolation, segregated land uses, car- wheelie bins are being collected by of Urb Planning based in Dublin www.based movement, strip malls and cul- barristers. But who would have thought This article is based on ade-sacs, should at least be honest fifteen years ago this could be huge series of ideas published on his ‘Lifeand admit this was their goal all- business? Isn’t it time to examine after Roundabouts’ Blog between 15thalong. Improvements are expected to how utilities can be used to reduce and 28th June, 2010.happen by osmosis. A new shopping people’s bills, and release more cashcentre (anywhere) is expected to into the economy? Utilities provide Notesimprove everything else around it; a reliable return on investment over 1 Town Centres-Best Practice, FSPsuburban populations to support time... because you can get your Retail Blog, 24 June 2011.“Perfect Sense” - A ReviewI was struck by the plot of a the collapse of our fiscal institutions a lack of purpose; and in general a recently reviewed movie, “Perfect in Ireland. The movie plot seems to time of rising concern about the loss Sense”, starring Ewan McGregor. capture the panic and the mood of of confidence and direction. It wasMcGregor plays a central role at the country as we individually and very hard to know how to promotethe heart of an unfolding pandemic collectively rationalized the demise the repair of historic buildings withoutconcerning the loss of human senses, of our economy and our society. In funding to support best conservationthe first symptoms are identified as particular, how a dramatic chain of practice, or to cultivate seed projectsthe out pouring of grief and as the events impacted and affected the when funding had disappeared. Thedisease progresses it cause sufferers lives of those dependent on the main streets of our towns and citiesto lose their sense of smell, taste vagaries of the building sector and, witnessed the downturn in a very realand eventually hearing, leading to the within that industry, the niche area of way with many sites becoming vacantgradual breakdown of society….where’s conservation. and derelict as owners literally turnedthis going you may wonder. their backs on their old buildings and Describing working as a Conservation overlooked their continual maintenanceIt occurred to me that the makers Architect/Officer over the last few as being integral to the vitality of theof the movie had managed to reflect years may best be summed up as a a way the inertia (call it what you time of vanishing once-viable projects;may) that we have all experienced of lost funding, opportunities and Back to the pandemic: how didas we wrestled with the enormity of expertise; of uncertainty coloured with our hero respond to the challenge?Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011 8
  9. 9. AnalysisMcGregor, a chef who is faced with The decision by central government promotional job to be done in thisfinancial ruin and the loss of his to review the Planning & Development area and the justification for it is verybusiness, decides that as people have Act 2000 provides an opportunity to clear as it aligns our endeavours withlost their senses, as they can’t see, review the hugely positive contribution our EU partners who have devised thehear, taste or smell the food in his that the legislative framework has current funding programme to addressrestaurant, he decides to reinvent made to supporting cultural heritage the neglect of historic cities as thethe menu and offer an alternative and hopefully it retains the really key fabric /infrastructure to sustainapproach. McGregor sees the light positive aspects of the legislation, future communities. I encourage youand develops a new repertoire of such as the important guidance of the to go online and to find the Herodishes that give a satisfying ‘crunch’ architectural heritage guidelines on programme and to fix your eyes onas the key culinary experience to win protected structures, while taking the the horizon and work for a brighterthe support of his customers. opportunity to finely hone areas of the future. legislation that weren’t achieved. TheHere’s my take on the moral of the limited appointment of Conservation Nicki Matthewsstory. Whilst we (in the various roles Officers to Local Authorities haswe play in Planning and Development) greatly reduced the impact of the Nicki Matthews is an architect andcontinue to strive to move forward implementation of national policy conservation officer with Dublin Citytogether we will identify opportunities and the coherence in approach to Council. This article has been writtenand strengths that add to our capacity informing planning is essential to in a personal re-build and to re-imagine a future improving the quality of our builtfor our country. This is not a time for environment. The employment of moreprofessionals to stay in the comfort Conservation Officers (even under theof their respective remits. We need to current public service embargo) isbe forging new alliances, identifying justified on the amount of EU fundingnew opportunities and actively offering currently available for historic townssolutions to inform the on-going and cities. This is a strong signalprocess of re-building confidence in from the EU and the Hero programmeour historic towns and cities. We need is the only immediate hope for thenew planning tools and measures future repair of historic buildingsto deal with dereliction and wasting and a much needed stimulus for theassets and mechanisms to inform reviving the crippled building practice of heritage buildings that With EU funding come ideas derivedhave been left stranded and isolated from internal best practice andin large property portfolios now under management, which encourage andcontrol of NAMA. promote multi-disciplinary teams and the development of ethical frameworkIt is timely that the sections of the or plans in which to coordinate ourAct regarded as more draconian at efforts. All welcome experience in mythe time of its introduction in 2000, opinion to address a broken planningand which were considered in general be too onerous to implement,are now reviewed with regard to In tandem with the review of thethe management of wasting heritage legislative framework, it would beassets and derelict sites. It is simply hugely beneficial to address theno longer reasonable to place the positive contribution that heritagefinancial burden on local authorities projects have made to society andto take on the role of CPO/acquiring to demonstrate best conservation Suggested Linksproperties or to finance property practice of regeneration/sustainableregeneration when all sources of re-use of built heritage assets. There Project Heroheritage funding have been removed. are some real success stories, which European cities have placed the could be used to inform other heritage_opportunity_eu_project_responsibility on the owners of the communities. Heritage is no longer hero_presented_its_new_approach_properties and levied derelict sites/ the frilly add-on option or a marginal management_historic_citiesunder-performing buildings, which activity followed by a few converteddetract and undermine other property zealots. Europe regards conservation/ Perfect Senseowners. regeneration as a mainstream activity at the heart of sustainable living, tnt-today/archive/2011/10/04/Here are a few final thoughts to healthy communities and vibrant film-review-perfect-sense.ponder and where light may be shed. cultural cities. There is a significant aspx#ixzz1aXgAwMG 9 Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011
  10. 10. Analysis increased the level of employment Spatial Strategy (NSS) was produced and wages commanded and so the in 2002. The document identified multiplier effect kicked in and the Gateways and Hubs to accommodate Celtic Tiger took off. balanced regional growth, up to 2020. However, the document was politically On entering the single currency, watered down and the relationship interest rates were dramatically to capital investment was not tight reduced and suddenly developers enough; thus it could not deliver on found that banks had a lot of cheap much of its strategic focus. In terms money available, so borrowing large of its implementation, the strategy amounts became the norm and was largely ignored, even by Central construction intensified. In turn those Government when implementing its buying properties were encouraged to decentralisation plans and introducing borrow larger amounts of money and property tax incentives. as the price gap widened, the amounts and percentage borrowed increased At a local plan making level, mere and construction started to drift into ‘regard’ was given to national andALICE CHARLES, MIPI the more ‘affordable’ rural hinterland. regional policy and often despite the This movement was compounded by best advice of Planners, CouncillorsIrish Property Market the comparative ease (in time and and management succumbed toCollapse: the Cause, processing) of developing on new pressure from developers and vested development land in the hinterland interests, who exerted undue influencethe Legacy, NAMA and areas of major centres, as against the on plan making. As a result, bad zoningthe Role of Planning greater complexity of delivering urban decisions were made, which led to an redevelopment in brownfield locations. abundance of zoned land, often in theWhilst the current Irish property wrong location and lacking collapse is by no means When the pace of the Celtic Tigerunique, the extent of the collapse is started to slow, the Government When developers were contemplatingarguably greater than that experienced responded by introducing property tax the purchase of land or property, theyinternationally. This is essentially incentives to prop up the construction had little regard for statutory Plansa result of poor governance of industry. This resulted in areas like and similarly bankers often ignoredthe planning system, property tax the Upper Shannon being littered planning parameters when makingincentives and lax regulation, in with Section 23 properties. Whilst decisions on lending. In developersthe preceding decade. The legacy many may have quietly questioned haste to make profit on their heftyis a plethora of unfinished estates, the sustainability of such practices, investments, good design often fellzombie hotels and golf courses and few voiced their concerns and when by the wayside. As a result, Planningan abundance of zoned land. NAMA they did they were shot down by Authorities were increasingly facedis but one mechanism that has been Government and the mass media who with determining planning applicationsemployed to deal with the banking promoted property as a sure bet. for intensive development of a poorand corresponding property market However, the Celtic Tiger came to a design quality and with limitedcollapse. In this article, Alice Charles grinding halt in 2008, with the onset social and community infrastructure.explores the cause, the legacy, and of the global financial crisis and in Whilst Planners often rejected suchthe role of planning and of NAMA in particular the level of exposure of our applications, in some cases theyseeking a solution. banks to land and property loans. were granted. Too often it was left to An Bord Pleanala to interpretWhat happened? Where was planning? the Development Plan correctly andThe roots of the Celtic Tiger can be Many would rightly ask, where was refuse such development; that’s if thetraced back to the early 1990’s, when planning during the Celtic Tiger and application was appealed to the Board.Ireland started benefitting directly from whilst we may find it difficult toprosperity resulting from the influx accept, we must acknowledge that Not only should the planning professionof multinational companies. Ireland the planning system failed. This may have been more vocal in outlining itsbecame the destination of choice for be attributed more to the politics of concerns but the planning systemmultinationals, due to the workforce’s planning than the actual profession, should have acted as a counter balanceeducational attainment relative to but the system nonetheless failed. to the development frenzy. Planningother English speaking countries. This Despite a strong legislative base, should have controlled the level andresulted in a dramatic increase in the governance of Planning in Ireland location of development in the interestsemployment and as employment grew historically lacked joined up thinking of the common good and properso too did the demand for houses. and often pandered to political and planning and sustainable development.The construction industry responded local interests. In an attempt toby increasing output and in so doing overcome this problem, the NationalPlanning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011 10
  11. 11. AnalysisThe legacy NAMA is an asset management approval or rejection. If plans areOur downfall has been well company that acquires good and approved the bank will work with thedocumented by the global media bad loans at market value from the developer towards the implementationand it has unfortunately led to the Irish banking institutions. NAMA has of the Plan, but if rejected then theappearance of new phenomena, such acquired more than 11,500 property- bank can appoint receivers and seekas the ‘unfinished/ghost estate’ and related loans from the Irish banking to realise whatever value they can forthe ‘zombie’ hotel. The legacy of the institutions involving 850 debtors, the asset. It is also worth noting thatCeltic Tiger is not only a collapsed 16,000 properties and loan balances land and property assets managedeconomy and development sector, but of €72.3 billion. The loan book will by foreign banks often sit alongsidea surplus of partially completed or shortly increase to €74.2 billion after NAMA assets and it may be in thecompleted developments, comprising the residual tranche of loans are public interest for both parties to2846 unfinished estates, zombie hotels removed from the bank’s balance work together to realise best valueand golf courses, with a excess of sheets. 60% of the loans are secured for the asset.15,000 bed spaces, struggling private by commercial or residential propertyhospitals, vacant commercial property and 40% by undeveloped land or by NAMA and Planning: The Legislationand derelict historic properties. properties under development. 60% of NAMA is a commercial entity that the loans are in Ireland; nearly 30% is focused on the recovery for theIn addition, there is an abundance are in the UK, whilst the remainder taxpayer of what it has paid for theof zoned land, some of which has are in the wider world. The objective acquisition of the assets plus anypermitted proposed development, set under Section 10 of the NAMA Act additional project funding, workingalong with considerable amounts of 2009, is to obtain so far as possible capital and other costs. Whilst this mayunzoned land on which imprudent the best achievable financial return appear contrary to the basic premise oflending was made. There is more for the State having regard to the planning for the ‘common good’, whenthan 41,000 hectares of land zoned amount paid, plus whatever additional the legislation is scrutinised, planningfor development, yet the Regional working or development capital costs actually plays a significant role inAuthority Housing Land Requirement, for the acquired bank assets. NAMA’s performance of its duties.sets out an estimate of need to 2016of at most some 12,450 hectares. When the loans are acquired by This is demonstrated in various sections(The current process of Core Strategy NAMA, it requests debtors to submit a of the National Asset Management Actadoption and subsequent variation/ detailed 3-year business plan within 30 2009 (NAMA Act), but specifically inreview of development plans and days of acquisition. Business Plans are Sections 2, 11 and 12. Section 2 oflocal area plans will bring the then reviewed and NAMA determines the NAMA Act explicitly states thatshort term zoned land bank down whether these plans are viable and one of the purposes of the Act is ‘totowards the lower figure.) As our will either approve them, reject them contribute to the social and economicinfrastructure was not upgraded in or refer them back to the respective development of the State’. Sectiontandem with development, we have a borrower for amendment. Where plans 11 of the NAMA Act indicates thathuge physical, social and recreational are approved, NAMA will monitor the in exercising its ‘functions NAMA shallinfrastructure deficit, with investment debtors’ subsequent performance to have regard to the need to avoidcritically needed in water, wastewater, ensure they adhere to the targets undue concentrations or distortionspublic transport, education and health contained in the approved business in the market for development land’.to meet the needs of the existing and plans in relation to the agreed debt Section 12 refers to the powers offuture population. repayment/disposal strategy. Where NAMA and it explicitly states that business plans are rejected and NAMA has the power to ‘make anyThe solution borrowers are considered to be no planning application in relation toThe National Asset Management Agency longer viable, enforcement is pursued land, and intervene in any planning(NAMA) was established in 2009, as a against the debtor and receivers application made by another person’key part of the solution to the Irish working on behalf of the organisation and ‘make any application to developbanking crisis. NAMA operates under offer the land and property for sale. minerals on land’, and ‘undertakethe confines of the NAMA Act 2009, development for the purpose ofand is a mechanism to deal with the It must be acknowledged that the realising the full value of any asset’,riskiest land and development loans Foreign Banks also have mechanisms in and in exercising its powers ‘NAMAon banks’ balance sheets. These loans place to manage land and development shall have regard to proper planningstopped banks from lending into the loans. The model is somewhat similar and sustainable development aseconomy, thus preventing economic to that of NAMA, with many forming expressed in Government policy andrecovery. NAMA involves the removal global restructuring teams to manage in any relevant regional planningof land, development and associated major corporate clients in financial guidelines (within the meaning of theloans off the bank’s balance sheets and distress. The principal aim of the banks Planning and Development Act 2000)their acquisition by NAMA, for which is to maximise debt recovery and in and development plan...’. Section 148NAMA has to date, paid the banks so doing, they require borrowers to and Schedule 1 of the NAMA Act also€30.5 billion in redeemable securities. prepare revised Business Plans for provides Statutory Receivers with similar 11 Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011
  12. 12. Analysispowers to that of NAMA indicating sought and received written Discussions have taken place withthat they have the power ‘to apply for submissions from selected prescribed DoECLG, ABP and the CCMA on issuesand maintain any planning permission, organisations listed in the Planning and which have an impact on NAMA’sbuilding regulation approval or any Development Regulations, including the work including the extent of over-other authorisation’. In addition, the Irish Planning Institute who submitted zoning, housing densities, unfinishedNAMA Act refers to the need to give a comprehensive response. The housing developments (both housesconsideration to planning in relation submissions spanned a wide range of and apartments), infrastructuralto the valuation and acquisition of views covering proper planning and development, special problemsassets from the banking institutions in sustainable development generally, as associated with hotels and golf courses,various Sections of the Act. well as the specific issues such as development contributions, bonds and housing policy, public transport, key the new planning legislation.NAMA Planning Advisory Committee infrastructure, amenity and communityand its workings facilities, provision of sites for public The Committee guided NAMA’sSection 33 of the NAMA Act 2009 purposes, economic and social participation on the Expert Advisoryprovides that the NAMA Board may development objectives, planning Group on Unfinished Housingestablish advisory committees and legislation and processes and long- Developments which was establishedtwo have been set up to date: the term public interest. As advised by the to advise the Ministers of State forPlanning Advisory Committee (PAC) Committee, the Board has had regard to Housing and Planning on actionsand the Northern Ireland Advisory these submissions in the development to ensure the effective managementCommittee. of NAMA’s strategies and policies. of these developments. The Group’s report was published by the MinisterThe Planning Advisory Committee is The Committee had discussions with for Housing in June 2011. That reportcomprised of the following people: a number of Government Departments identified 2,846 unfinished estates• William Soffe (Chairman, Board and with other organisations in and it categorised them by reference Member) relation to planning and development to the extent to which they required• Brendan McDonagh (Chief matters of mutual interest. These remediation. The report identified 225 Executive, NAMA and Board bodies included the Department of Category 4 estates, which are deemed member) Environment, Community and Local to require immediate remedial attention.• Michael Connolly (Board Member) Government (DoECLG), the Department NAMA debtors have loans with an• John Mulcahy (Head of Portfolio of Education and Skills (DoES), An exposure to 31 of those Category Management) Bord Pleanála (ABP), the Health 4 estates. NAMA is undertaking an• Michael Wall (External Member) Service Executive (HSE), the Housing analysis of the estates with a view• Alice Charles (External Member) and Sustainable Communities Agency to developing site resolution plans, (HSCA) and the County and City which will address the most pressingThe purpose of the Planning Advisory Managers’ Association (CCMA). The matters that require resolution andCommittee is to provide strategic following are some of the issues which has committed to investing €3 millionadvice and recommendations to the have been covered in these discussions to fund urgent construction works.Board on planning, land and related and which have been the subject ofmatters that may exert an influence the Committee’s advice to the Board: NAMA has proactively engaged withon the valuation and realisation of both the DoES and the HSE anddevelopment potential of NAMA assets Recognising the pressing need for a other State bodies in relation to theirand thereby affect the achievement of national planning information system, possible need for land and propertyNAMA’s purpose and functions. the DoECLG (with the support of other for schools and health care facilities, interested organisations, including etc. A number of locations have beenTo date the Committee has had two NAMA) plans to establish, by the end identified for further consideration bypriorities: of 2011, an internet browser-based State bodies. There are also ongoing GIS planning information system, discussions with the HSCA about1. To consult widely with other incorporating national planning spatial their interest in land and properties interested parties so as to data including zoning, unfinished (mainly in urban areas) for social and develop an understanding of housing developments, housing land affordable housing and rent and leasing their perspective on a number of availability and developing areas. The schemes. In this regard a member of key issues and, thereby, in turn, Committee has worked closely with staff has been seconded from the inform the NAMA Board’s policies the Department in terms of NAMA’s Housing and Sustainable Communities and strategies. contribution to the system. On Agency (HSCA) to review the residential2. To enter into discussions with completion of the exercise NAMA will units managed by the organisation, to Government bodies and with other supplement the GIS planning information establish if any of the assets may parties, so as to determine how system with information pertaining be suitable for the provision of social best to align NAMA’s role with to its assets, to inform a strategic and affordable housing. In accordance other public policy objectives. review of the positioning if its assets. with the Board’s direction, such land/On its establishment, the Committee properties will be offered at NAMA’sPlanning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011 12
  13. 13. Analysisminimum reserve price (independently analysis of the strategic strengths viable i.e. student accommodation,appraised) to such State Departments and weaknesses of assets in relation nursing homes, private hospitals,or bodies for four weeks, subject to a to location, zoning, planning history, social and affordable housing, etc.definite decision, contract and closing servicing, transportation linkages, site Commercial Property: As the Irishperiod of up to 90 days, prior to designations, development/energy / economy regains momentum overopen market offering. agricultural potential. Assets that are the coming years and as investor located in major centres of population confidence grows, demand forFinally, the committee actively sought are likely to offer the most potential for commercial property will improve.and inputted into the process of development in the short to medium There is, of course, overcapacity inrecruiting a full time Planner for term and are likely to be prioritised. all commercial sectors at the momentthe organisation. The organisation but there are significant sectoralhas now recruited Chris McGarry, Use of Unfinished Estates: Whilst the and regional variations. For instance,who has more than 20 years town organisations immediate priority is to vacancy rates for city centre officeplanning experience. He commenced ensure that the estates that present space in Dublin are falling and with noemployment with NAMA in September a health and safety hazard are completions expected in the short term2011 and is already hard at work remediated, the organisation is also and evidence of strong demand fromboth providing the organisation actively looking at future uses for technology companies and from newwith planning advice in relation to surplus stock. On completion of the multinational companies, the outlookspecific assets, but also putting the HSCA staff member’s spatial analysis for this sector is quite positive. Onprocesses in place to ensure that the of the unfinished assets managed by the other hand, a pick-up in activityorganisation plans strategically for the NAMA, it is hoped that the Department in the retail and industrial sectorscollective use of its assets nationally will have a clear view of the assets is heavily dependent on a generaland internationally. Chris has also that offer potential for the previous resurgence of economic activity.been charged with commencing active of social and affordable housing andengagement with Planning Authorities, the organisation will happily offload Undeveloped land, future developmentin relation to assets within their its assets, at the price paid, to Local land and back to agriculture or forestry:local authority areas, having regard Authorities and social and affordable Undeveloped land accounts for 40%to proper planning and sustainable housing providers, within the confirms of NAMA loans. The most valuable ofdevelopment principles and to NAMA’s of planning legislation and policy these loans is within, or close to, majorcommercial remit. guidance. In the interest of ensuring centres of population and will in time sustainable balanced communities and lend itself for development. However,Future planning consideration for indeed recouping taxpayer’s money, some land will not be developed andNAMA and State bodies NAMA is also exploring mechanisms will revert to agricultural use and withWhilst NAMA faces formidable for offering residential property to the the outlook for the agriculture sectorchallenges ahead, it presents an market. However, it is acknowledged much improved in the short to mediumopportunity to facilitate a “plan led” that some assets will not readily term, there is likely to be solid demandrather than a “developer led” approach lend themselves for the purposes of for agricultural or forestry future development in the State. social and affordable housing and areThis will not only enable NAMA to unlikely to be taken up by the market. Develop Public Sector Land Registerachieve best value for the taxpayer but In such cases solutions will need to / Vest Public Sector Land in thewill be in the interest of the ‘common be employed on a site by site basis, Organisation: NAMA is likely togood’ and represent proper planning which will include retrofitting, exploring support the development of a publicand sustainable development. In order alternative uses i.e. community, sector land register, which wouldto achieve such a goal, it requires sheltered accommodation, etc, and enable the State to strategicallycollective action from both NAMA and in some cases demolition, which may assess the potential of its assets.State Bodies. For NAMA’s part this require the relocation of residents This would allow for the preparationmight include the following: from estates allocated for demolition of joint masterplans and ultimately to superior property. achieve best value for the taxpayer.Use GIS planning information system Alternatively the State may seek toto analysis and plan: Proper planning Hotels and Golf Courses: Where a vest or sell surplus public sectoris built upon research, analysis and number of NAMA-funded hotels and lands to the organisation, where itplanning. DoECLG in cooperation with golf courses are competing in a would be in the interests of the State.NAMA are hard at work developing a location where there is only potentialGIS planning information system and for a single facility, NAMA will more Engagement with Non-Participatingon completion later this year, this tool than likely have to make a decision Institutions: NAMA will need towill be used by NAMA. NAMA will based on the optimal commercial proactively engage with non-supplement this system with relevant outcome. Therefore NAMA will have participating institutions, in accordanceplanning data in relation to existing to actively consider alternative uses with the approved code of practice, inassets managed by the organisation for hotels and golf courses that are order to optimise returns on commonand will then undertake a spatial considered to not be economically assets and debtors. NAMA also 13 Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011
  14. 14. Analysisexpects non-participating institutions consider asking Local Authorities the fundamental requirements ofto operate in a reciprocal way taking to prepare Infrastructure Capacity proper planning and sustainableaccount of NAMA’s objectives. Assessments that identify the development will need to measure physical, social and recreational the cost and the benefits to societyUse of CPO Powers: The NAMA Act needs of the existing and future of one-off housing. DoECLG andprovides the organisation with CPO population and the cost of realising Local Authorities would be prudentpowers which can be availed of. The these objectives. This would provide to promote the development oforganisation may have to consider an equitable means of developing serviced sites in small villages andcompulsorily purchasing land and costed development contribution towns and offer housing choiceproperty to facilitate access to assets schemes and provide some degree and help to regenerate ruralor where it is in the best interests of of certainty in relation to the settlements. It is recognised thatrealising the overall value of assets. cost of development and servicing some degree of need will existDoECLG, Local Authorities and other development. for one-off housing, in servingState bodies may consider the following: the needs of the agriculture 4. Brownfield Land Policy community, but the intensity of1. Revise and Focus the NSS It would be prudent for DoECLG to such unsustainable development around Five Key Cities promote a Brownfield Land Policy, cannot persist. Whilst NAMA is a State body which would not only promote the with no direct involvement in the development of urban Brownfield It should be emphasised that the drafting of legislation or guidance, land first, but would provide type of planning judgements, which it is likely to support any review guidance on the remediation, I suggest above, NAMA is likely to of the National Spatial Strategy by planning and servicing of such sites. make over the next short period, such DoECLG. The NSS not only needs as considering alternative uses to to prioritise development around 5. Support density a current non viable use, analysing the major centres of population, The promotion and achievement of the location of its assets, and thus but it needs to provide a strategic medium to high densities enables their immediate or future planning framework for the development the delivery of economically viable value, by reference to regional and of energy, waste and agriculture, infrastructure in tandem with development plan policy etc., are which will act as major drivers of development and prevents further those which will (or should) be made future growth. unnecessary urban sprawl onto by all participants in the planning and Greenfield sites. Therefore DoECLG development sector. In addition they2. Urban Capacity Studies prepared is likely to support continued reflect the progression of Ministerial by Local Authorities when Plan- medium to high densities. Building guidance through to statutory planning making height is not necessary to deliver policy changes, in areas such as If DoECLG were to introduce Urban higher density development. This population targets, relationship of Capacity Studies, as part of the is evident in Georgian Dublin new development to infrastructure. local Plan making process, this where the highest densities of In short, NAMA will be operating would be of great use to NAMA. development are concentrated. within and availing of, the tightened This would provide the housing In order to achieve density, and improved context for planning. and employment capacity, empty consolidation must be the central homes and employment land theme of local Plan making. Conclusion and property strategy for a local The ultimate outcome of NAMA will authority area, which would be of 6. Discourage the continued not be known for many years to come, immense use in planning for the development frenzy of one off but if it is to be successful it’s vital future use of assets nationwide. houses that proper planning and sustainable The cost of providing all public development practices are at its core.3. Infrastructure Capacity and private services together NAMA welcomes the engagement of Assessments prepared by with providing and maintaining the planning profession to date and Local Authorities, with linked infrastructure to dispersed one-off would welcome continued engagement Development Contributions rural housing is significantly more with DoECLG, regional and local Infrastructure development did expensive and inefficient than in a authorities and the wider profession. not keep pace with development, village, town or City. In addition, Alice Charles, MIPI during the boom and as a result with the surplus of housing stock there are huge infrastructure in villages, towns and cities, each Alice Charles, MIPI is Director of deficits, particularly in relation one-off house that is developed Alice Charles Planning and serves to water, waste water, transport, provides a further burden to the tax as an External Member of the NAMA education, health and recreation. payer, in that if such a development Planning Advisory Committee. This If this problem is to be not only didn’t take place, potentially an article has been provided with the resolved, but prevented in the asset managed by the State could kind permission of the National future, the DoECLG may have to be acquired. DoECLG in embracing Assets Management Agency.Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011 14
  15. 15. Editorial - Making Use of the “Downtime”T he RIAI president Paul Keogh planning officer or the public due to addressed as part of this exercise. remarked in his inaugural their size and the time constraints of address a couple of years the process. Surely a more succinct The validation process is also aback that if any positives could be means of making these arguments major bone of contention and privatetaken from the recession and the should be considered? practice planners have long argueddownturn in the development sector, for a more reasonable, fairer andit was that it provided architects with One idea would be to place the onus speedier system. The Department oftime for “thought and redefinition of on the Planning Authority to make a the Environment has published reviseddirection”. This is also the case for greater degree of baseline information Development Management Guidelinesplanners and the planning profession. available upon which to make informed in an effort to address concerns about decisions. Retail Impact Statements the process but it remains the casePerhaps the “downtime” we are currently are a good example, where developers that validation is in the eye of theexperiencing offers an opportunity to or their agents are required to technician. It can often seem that theconsider more fundamental changes undertake health checks of town decision to invalidate is made withoutto our profession and to the planning centres or quantitative assessments an understanding of the practicalprocess. After all, the refrain during of existing floorspace as part of the implications on the developer or histhe boom years was that we were justification for their schemes. The agents.simply too busy to even consider situation can and has arisen wherewhether the processes we had put in there are multiple reports prepared by Finally, the move to standardise theplace provided for an effective and different developers, all containing the planning process under the 2001efficient planning service. same analysis. Surely this information Act has meant that some of the should be impartially amassed by the simpler applications for developmentThe previous government made a planning authority and then made often fall victim to the excesses ofnumber of significant changes to the available to developers or even the bureaucracy. A friend of mineplanning regime at strategic level, discussed with them during the pre- recently asked for my assistance inmainly to ensure greater cohesion planning phase to determine whether making a planning application for abetween the various layers of planning the proposed development is suitable new driveway entrance to his housein the country and also to enforce the or desirable. (no win no fee of course!). When Iprinciple of evidence-based planning. told him that he needed to provideThe new government promises further The expense of preparing a planning elevation plans to accompany hischange. application was absorbed with little application and the need for notices debate during the boom years, at etc he looked at me in puzzlement.However the planning application least to planning authorities. However This led me to think that perhapsprocess itself, as a process which these costs now seem less justified a system of planning permits formany people are required to engage given our more straightened economic various types of development (suchwith at some point in their lives (and circumstances. Even during the boom, as driveways) could be devisedwhich is supposed to encourage public handing over upwards of €1,000 to a which would offer a simpler processparticipation), remains opaque, overly- newspaper company to place an advert to would-be applicants, albeit withbureaucratic and overly complex, even seemed like an excessive imposition clearer guidance as to what type ofto built environment professionals. on a developer. How must this appear development could take place. This to developers now? Erecting site also strikes me as good solution forThe requirements for making an notices is also often an externalised commercial business such as shopsapplication are a case in point. The cost, spawning its own mini-cottage where changes are proposed tomultiple copies of expensive plans industry, while the length and detail shopfronts or signage. The currentand the growing numbers of reports of notices seems to have increased arrangement of a standard planningexpected with each application needs substantially over the years – consider application often appears so overlyconsideration. Providing comprehensive Chartered Land’s Dublin Central complex to the property owner thatinformation and arguments for a development on O’Connell Street as in many cases the planning systemdevelopment is obviously important to a case of site notices gone mad. is simply bypassed, and the changesthe decision-making process, however Perhaps adopting the UK approach, are made regardless. Is this really thethe increasingly voluminous impact where a simple site notice is erected best way that we can manage thisstatements prepared by planning by the planning authority themselves, process? Perhaps some “redefinitionconsultants and other specialists, would serve us better. It is known of direction” would prove worthwhile.which require a considerable amount that the Department is currentlyof work on the part of these revising the schedule of planningprofessionals to produce, are often fees: the additional costs associatedunwieldy and inaccessible to the with the process should also be The Editor 15 Planning Issues, Volume 1, No. 3, Autumn 2011