Kildare “does not have too much land for housing”

KILDARE County Council has denied that too much land has been rezoned for houses and apartments across the county.

According to recent Department of the Environment figures, Co Kildare has enough land set aside to create almost 38,000 residential units. However the number of units estimated to be needed is just 7,718.

Nationally, sufficient land has been zoned to build nearly 1.1 million homes yet projections indicate that only 300,000 new units are required between 2010 and 2016.

Kildare County Council spokesman Charlie Talbot disputed the figure adding “I don’t think we can agree with it”. He said that the council adheres to Draft Regional Planning Guidelines (DRPGs) which apply to the Greater Dublin Area between now and 2022.

“These targets take into account existing and potential vacancy levels and projected decline in households size over the time periods,” said Mr. Talbot.

In 2006 the housing needs in the county were 68,840 units and this rises to 93,748 by 2016 as the number of people living in the county is expected to increase to 234,422 – although these estimates were made four years ago.

The population increase over the ten years between 2006 and 2016 is more than a quarter while the rise in the number of units needed is estimated to be 36 percent.

Further into the future DRPGs estimate the population will increase by almost 8 percent between 2016 and 2022 and the number of houses and apartments required will rise by 20 percent.

Mr. Talbot also pointed out that a survey of the undeveloped land zoned for housing was carried out almost a year ago and this revealed that these lands have the capacity to accommodate more than 36,000 new homes. However the DRPGs recommend that additional lands be zoned – above what is actually needed – to allow for land that might not be available for development when required.

Mr. Talbot insisted that, taking into account current and projected demand for housing, County Kildare “is not significantly overzoned” to achieve the 2016-2022 growth targets.

The figures suggest significant overzoning in other counties such as Meath where up to 60 times more land was zoned for residential use than was needed.

This news at a time when there are more houses for sale than it is possible to sell and when property prices continue to decline.

The Leader understands that county councils are often in favour of overzoning on the basis that this prevents steep rises in the cost of land and, consequently, new properties. A council source said: “Some zoning decisions were made five to six years ago in an economic climate that was very much different than today’s”.

Published Date: 13 May 2010
Leinster Leader

Paul O’Meara
http://www.leinsterleader.ie/news/Kildare-34does-not-have-too.6287551.jp

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