Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Cork City Hall

The chairman of the Land Development Agency (LDA), John Moran, has called for the public to support plebiscites for directly elected mayors in Cork, Limerick and Waterford.

Having one person to represent the needs of each city will be of benefit to agencies like the LDA he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“This is a practical example of how good this would be for cities. It would mean instead of dealing with managers and lots of officials, one person would be able to represent them. They could say what their city needs in terms of housing.”

Mr Moran also spoke of the major strategic review that will be carried out in core city areas around the country in order to facilitate regeneration and rejuvenation.

The review will contribute to the sustainable growth of Irish cities – and identify how best to position the LDA and State-owned land to help achieve this, while limiting urban sprawl.

This is about making sure that we know ourselves, what we can do and about the best use of land.

He said that the problem is keeping up with population growth and that it is important to plan ahead.

A senior urban planning specialist will be appointed to complete the review which was announced at the National Housing Conference on Tuesday which was organised by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Department of Housing.

This will involve collaboration with key stakeholders – such as local authorities, Government agencies, educational bodies, businesses and private sector property groups.

The review will be used to support planning authorities and State landowners to increase housing supply in the near and medium term.

Mr Moran said the LDA is in discussions with the RIAI about collaborating on larger sites, which can yield some 3,000 new homes from next year. The agency is also developing plans with the RIAI to run a design review process, involving architects and stakeholders.

“The RIAI is trying to change the way people live. They are thinking beyond Project Ireland 2040 and are planning for 2070.”

Mr Moran said that the agency aims to identify and acquire suitable sites to address the housing crisis. In Limerick a site, which was only 15 minutes cycle from the main train station had been identified which would accommodate 200,000 people where they could “live, work and play.”

“This is about creating a real 21st-century city. Areas in Dublin could be used the same way, the same in Waterford and Cork.”

He added that legislation is going through the Dáil and Seanad at present to give the LDA the power to acquire these lands. “That’s the most important thing, the development of plans for these areas.”

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