Homes without services risk becoming ‘ghost communities’, says CIF

Construction Industry Federation chief Tom Parlon calls for EU to relax spending rules

Tom Parlon called for an independent commission to focus on improved infrastructure .Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Tom Parlon called for an independent commission to focus on improved infrastructure .Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 
IrelandConstruction Industry Federation

While guardedly welcoming the Government’s new housing plan yesterday, the federation’s chief executive Tom Parlon said any vision for house-building must also focus on infrastructure.

Mr Parlon, who spoke on housing at the summer school, separately told The Irish Times that the EU should relax its capital spending restrictions on Ireland to facilitate improved infrastructure to ensure new houses and estates were properly serviced. Otherwise Ireland would be left with “ghost communities” rather than “ghost estates”. These would be “unconnected clumps of housing in areas disconnected to urban growth centres”.

Commission

Dr Lorcan Sirr, a lecturer in housing and urban economics at the Dublin Institute of Technology, said rather than 25,000 new houses a year, a more accurate figure for demand would be 40,000 houses a year.

He said one of the key problems was obsolescence. Some 6,400 houses become unusable each year for a variety of reasons such as neglect, family disputes and owners not having the money to maintain them. “It’s not just about building houses. We also need to maintain the stock that we have and we are not good at that,” he said.