Local councils and housing crisis

 

A chara, – Cantillon (February 20th) claims that local authorities are slow in our response to the housing crisis. This is an oft-repeated myth where little real evidence is produced.

Councils want to see good-quality housing built in line with local area plans. A developer that meets those requirements will most likely get permission.

What Cantillon ignores is the decision of central government to take planning out of the hands of local authorities when it comes to large-scale residential developments and give it to An Bord Pleanála. This has not resulted in a surge of new applications.

If Cantillon wanted to really understand the delays in planning, the question needs to be asked as to why, for example, when a council wants to build social housing, it takes four stages of department approval and two years before a brick can be laid.

There is an irony that local councils, continually stripped of resources and powers by central government, become the scapegoat for the failure to build homes, and yet for all the centralising of power and money, we are not seeing new homes being built.

If local councils were given the power and the money, we would build and support proper development. – Is mise,

Cllr MALCOLM BYRNE,

Gorey,

Co Wexford.