‘Dead space’ in the garden

How much room do we need?

Sir, – According to the report presented to the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, “focus groups” say that the back third of gardens are generally “dead space” or “under-utilised” (“Plan to solve housing crisis recommends smaller gardens”, News, August 4th).

This depends on the size of garden and is more likely to be true of ones that are in excess of 11m long.

Those who live in smaller gardens need to use every metre of available space to fit in a garden shed, a compost heap, a kennel, a trampoline, children’s toys, a sandbox, a bike or two, a washing line, some garden furniture, a log pile, refuse bins, an occasional extension... and an illusion of privacy.

The presented graphic, though technically accurate, may be a little disingenuous: it does not capture the reality of my back wall being 6m closer to my neighbour, though the reduction in light may make it slightly less easy for my neighbour, standing at their upstairs window, to lip-read the conversation at our dinner table.

However, the proximity may mean that lip-reading will not be necessary as there will be no problem hearing all that is said, including the speculation as to the length of gardens of those who are proposing such a reduction and, indeed, the composition of the “focus groups”. –Yours, etc,



Co Kildare

Sir, – We spend years achieving standards for healthy living and in a very short time we throw it all away at the behest of vested interests.

We have already reduced apartment standards, whatever that achieved, and now we are condemning people who live in “little boxes” to suffer box-size gardens.

Does the Government actually care? I ask once more. If it did it wouldn’t have stopped building houses. – Yours, etc,


Caherdavin Heights ,


Sir, – We are now aware of Glenveagh’s thoughts on reducing housing cost, or increasing profit per hectare, depending on your point of view.

What are the views of my democratically elected representatives on how to develop our cities, towns and villages in such a way that they expand in a logical and planned manner that works for society and people?

Most people would expect the Government to lead on these matters, not be led by commercial enterprises seeking to maximise their profits.

The housing system is dysfunctional as a result of politicians abdicating their responsibilities and relying on market forces to provide solutions.

It needs reform, starting with the current rezoning system and acquisition and ownership of land around urban areas.

An unpleasant thought for those who speculate in land, but a necessary one if Ireland is to have properly planned and functioning urban areas.

Are there any politicians brave enough to take the vested interests on? – Yours, etc,



Co Carlow.