Sir, – I wholeheartedly agree with Rory Williams of Ronan Group Real Estate (Letters, March 15th) that "...the absence of leadership. . . has led to a situation where it is initiatives from developers which are shaping the discourse".
This will inevitably lead to poor outcomes, for that is not their job.
The Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process has turned into a simple way for developers to contravene development plans – ironically preventing development.
This profoundly undemocratic SHD legislation may have been brought in to “accelerate the provision of housing”, but it has signally failed in its aim.
Rather, it has further delayed the construction of housing, serving only to increase land values, making future housing even less affordable to rent or buy.
For example, in 2020, planning permission was granted for 26,000 apartments – well below the 32,000 apartments granted planning in 2004, before the SHD process was even a gleam in the eye of the property industry. Total permits granted were for 44,000 units, again a long way off the peak of 68,000 in 2006.
The catastrophic under-provision of housing is a result of the crash of 2008. It has not ever been the result of delays in the planning system.
I share his frustration, as the Ronan Group’s task is to develop lands in a way that produces the best outcome for its shareholders.
Where that aim coincides with civic society, both entities benefit.
The SHD process has undermined the certainty that allows him to deliver his product.
The company should not be forced to design parts of the city, nor should the housing crisis be its responsibility.
It should continue to play a part in developing Dublin, through the fine developments that conform to the area development plans, as it has before.
– Yours, etc,