Apartments – Are We Repeating Past Mistakes?
2020 saw a stark increase in the amount of planning permissions being quashed through the Judicial Reviews taken against An Bord Pleanála. In January 2021, Mitchell McDermott examined all planning permissions issued under the SHD process and the research established that there had been a ten-fold increase in JR’s taken between 2019 and 2020. Further analysis in June 2021, revealed that in the first six months of 2021, a third of planning permissions were refused by ABP, a third were under judicial review with only a third successfully granted permission. Of all Judicial Reviews to date, 92% of approved planning permissions have been quashed by the courts.
In 2020, on the back of negative press, Co-Living which had been introduced in 2018 was banned by the Minister for Housing. This type of development was only ever going to make up a very small percentage of the housing stock but would have provided much-needed homes. Furthermore, after political pressure, a major PPP scheme, which was due to deliver 850 homes was overturned by councillors. This fed into a notional premise of only having public housing on public land. International finance, which funds the majority of new apartment schemes, and helped Ireland begin the journey to deliver new homes, is often referred to in pejorative terms. While we need to protect the right to home ownership, we also need to be aware of the role international funds play in the delivery of our other tenure typologies.
A public-private divide has grown over the course of the last couple of years. Some political parties argue that local authorities should provide direct development and, while this is a reasonable position, it fails to recognise that it is the same contractors who are building the units in either case. Local Authorities do not employ hundreds of brickies or plasterers. What we are talking about here is a different procurement method. However, the cost of this public procurement does need to be examined.