Gormley initiates planning review

Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby forrestreid » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:54 pm

PVC King wrote:If I were John Gormley I would be having a conversation with the elected body of the City Council informing them of the loss of their powers should he be required to develove more power to the new mayoral office to remove certain functions due to a potential to acheive a better fit with national standards.


And why should that frighten them?

At the moment DCC is dominated by FG and Labour. The Councillors of those parties confidently assume that the new Mayor position will be held by either FG and Labour.

They would only be too delighted if Gormley increased the power of the Mayor - will make it easier to ignore the bleatings of the few FF and Green Councillors that are left in the Dublin Councils
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby tommyt » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:00 pm

wearnicehats wrote:not sure what you mean here, although I note that you cut only a small section of my argument (a statistician's move there!). 8 of the 23 DCC decisions were upheld by ABP. Of the other 15, 5 of the inspectors recommended upholding the decision - giving 13 upheld decisions if the inspectors were correct. By your logic above, the 5 of ABP's own inspectors who recommended acceptance of DCC's decision were equally as professionally incapable of assessing the schemes to a standard acceptable to ABP as DCC themselves - which kind of makes a mockery of the process don't you think?


You both know it's never as straightforward as that. The upholding of a local authoity grant decision could be so heavily modified as to have manners put on it by the Board and may be equally as damning as a refusal.

our appeals process doesn't lend itself to basic statistical analysis and shouldn't be subjected to it in any informed debate.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby PVC King » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:11 pm

Tommy as always on de money..


.

not sure what you mean here, although I note that you cut only a small section of my argument (a statistician's move there!). 8 of the 23 DCC decisions were upheld by ABP. Of the other 15, 5 of the inspectors recommended upholding the decision - giving 13 upheld decisions if the inspectors were correct. By your logic above, the 5 of ABP's own inspectors who recommended acceptance of DCC's decision were equally as professionally incapable of assessing the schemes to a standard acceptable to ABP as DCC themselves - which kind of makes a mockery of the process don't you think?


The bottom line is that i8 cases the decisions were so heavily conditioned by the Bord as to not resemble the applications passed by DCC; in a further 15 cases the decisions were overturned. There have been some horrific buildings errected in Dublin n over the past 10 years; all of which were on DCC's watch.

The current system suits no-one; developers are encouraged by architects to apply for more than they will get and paying a multiple of the professional fees they needed to, planning resources are wasted looking at sites on multiple occaisions, banks are funding a process where there are no clear outcomes, occupiers are paying inflated rents and capital values because only some schemes are getting Bord permission and parts of the City have been wrecked.

Please do not try to be clever by raising red herrings such as inspectors reports. I have never voted for Gormely despite having many opportunities to do so but on this he needs to get a result.

I thought it was highly ironic that Sean Fitzpatrick's last poker game was over a Nigerian Oil Field, clearly games without rules were an environment he was very familiar with and as the primary financier behind the boom and bust in this local authority his risk gauge was very indicative.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby PVC King » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:19 pm

forrestreid wrote:And why should that frighten them?

At the moment DCC is dominated by FG and Labour. The Councillors of those parties confidently assume that the new Mayor position will be held by either FG and Labour.

They would only be too delighted if Gormley increased the power of the Mayor - will make it easier to ignore the bleatings of the few FF and Green Councillors that are left in the Dublin Councils




That assumes that the office will be politicised and not ala New York where the current mayor Michael Bloomberg was not from the political classes. Someone like Senator Feargal Quinn or a younger version from corporate Ireland would make an exceptional consensus candidate.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby wearnicehats » Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:34 pm

PVC King wrote:Tommy as always on de money..

Please do not try to be clever by raising red herrings such as inspectors reports. .


I'm not trying to be remotely clever. Inspectors' reports are supposed to inform the final decision. If they are regularly overruled then it calls into question the validity of both the report and also the ability of the inspector to adjudicate - or, more likely, the ability of the Bord to adjudicate. Much as LA's tend to take the easy way out because ABP awaits any decision they make, it must be demorlaising for inspectors to have their expertise cast aside also.

ABP take decisions based upon meetings of a board of "experts" whereby the majority vote counts. I don't think people realise that a scheme might go to a meeting of ABP where 6 members are present. Those 6 may vote and, if tied 3 for, 3 against, it is held over. When it is voted on again there might be 5 of the same people and one different person and the scheme be passed 4 to 2. There might, conversely, be 7 completely different people there and a scheme be consigned to the rubbish bin by a similarly single vote. It might be democracy but it's a flawed one
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby PVC King » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:35 pm

15 refusals and 8 heavily conditional grants are the issue at hand; should the Bord arrive at a decision by majority or by a unanimous decision is not the issue; the issue is the level which is issuing the refusal. The bottom line is that DCC's record on major schemes is significantly flawed, developers were led down the garden path at first instance when what they needed was DCC to perform their function in interpreting the development plan to a level that could stand the scrutiny of the National Planning Appeals Bord. NAMA has a number of properties that could have been pre-let prior to the collapse had the applicants secured consent within normal timeframes by International standards and would now be occupied and income producing.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby wearnicehats » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:42 pm

PVC King wrote:15 refusals and 8 heavily conditional grants are the issue at hand; should the Bord arrive at a decision by majority or by a unanimous decision is not the issue; the issue is the level which is issuing the refusal. The bottom line is that DCC's record on major schemes is significantly flawed, developers were led down the garden path at first instance when what they needed was DCC to perform their function in interpreting the development plan to a level that could stand the scrutiny of the National Planning Appeals Bord. NAMA has a number of properties that could have been pre-let prior to the collapse had the applicants secured consent within normal timeframes by International standards and would now be occupied and income producing.


do I stutter? you bandy about the word "Bord" as if it is a board rather than a random collection of whoever doesn't have to be elsewhere on the night of the BORD meeting. We've already been through the whole development plan issue earlier in this thread. I've already covered comprehensibly elsewhere the flaws of the LAs and the planning system. You tend to try to cloud issues with financial gobbledygook but it drives me absolutely up the FUCKING wall that everyone finds fault in every part of every iota of the planning system in this country and yet reveres ABP as some kind of avengeing angel rather than some kind of chaotic collection of opinions kick started into action, either correctly or vindictively, by a third party to cover the confusion created by vague development plans and local authorities who don't have to bear the consequences of their own decisions because of the safety net of the avengeing angel itself.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby PVC King » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:51 am

An Bord represents a group of built environment professionals of the highest calibre; they are asked by both applicants and observers to determine first instance planning decisions made in cases where the appellant feels it is worth paying a not insubstantial fee for a second elevated opinion. DCC does not have an acceptable record in large planning cases in front of these elevated professionals; equally seriously they refuse to take ministerial investigation seriously. This is not acceptable they are a local authority reliant on taxpayer support not a private enterprise with the independence that such a status provides.

There is no financial gobbledygook as you put it; it is very simple; finance was thrown around like the underlying money wasn't real; major planning applications at DCC level didn't pass next stage, developers needed a couple of years to then secure permission; when the music stopped certain developers were sitting on projects that the market had in many cases no demand for. It's called cause; DCC's inability to interpret the National Appeals Board's standards of planning in major cases; and effect schemes that were delayed beyond the crash and have left Nama with severly delayed projects.

This is not the case with all 23 schemes but other than a few very well located retail schemes €m's in planning and architects fees are to the many insolvent developers and their counterparties a lethal catalyst that has ruined them as opposed to a simple professional service required to secure local government consent.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby onq » Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:16 pm

PVC King wrote:&



Were those calculations done on an Abacus?

15 reversals are 15 reversals on major schemes as decided by a bord of the most emminent planners as appointed by Government; by granting planning permissions that were not professionally assessed to a standard capable of passing an Bord Pleannala they created a new layer of risk which meant that meant developers paid significantly higher financing costs due to the requirement to wait for the ABP decision and then spend months reapplying. If the decisions were bullet proof at first instance a lot more schemes would have been built prior to the music stopping.....


I would love to see a planning student do a thesis on the percentage of professional fees as a percentage of build costs on major schemes built in Dublin between 2004 and 2009; comparisons to London or Frankfurt would not be pretty.


You just love making unfounded allegations and taking the "safe" side of whomsoever you see as the final authority don't you PVC King?

Who says the decisions of the local authority weren't professionally assessed?

Did you read the Planners Report, the development plan, the Objections, and form a balanced opinion?

Similarly did you read the ABP Inspector's Report, the Members Direction and Deliberation and assess whether they had appropriately assessd the Appeal?

Good planning decisions are about reaching an acceptable balance.

Your statistical analysis of ABP decisions is a nonsense - each must be reviwed by itself.

Allow me ot explain a little of why this is so.

There is a problem with Dublin in terms of efficient running of the city that centres on achieving an acceptable level of density -vs- amenity, congestion and overlooking.

Attempts tp reach this balance are going tp be compromised because we still do not have an acceptable, affordable, modern public transport system even between the canals - thankfully most of us can cycle.

The original "ring of towers" applications [one in Clondalkin, one near Heuston Station, the O2 Tower, the U2 Tower, and the Ballsbridge Tower are all scupperd one way or another, but they they least showed people were thinking about the problem.

Now apply all this to the current planning system, where each local authority creates a development plan every five years.

The development plan has been defined by one Galway judge as being a form of contract between the Council, the electorate and stakeholders IIRC - I could stand corrected on the detail of the phrase but that was the gist of it.

Many differing and competing views have to be brought into some form of equilibrium for any viable - never mind "fair" - planning decision to be made.

Equally planning decisions need to be arrived at in a timely manner and in an way where unnecessary costs to not accrue to the parties involved.

Despite the legality of it having been questioned, I support the €20 "crank deterrent" Observation fee, and the €50 Appeal Observation fee, as a means of helping streamline the process.

I am less enamoured of the SDZ process, because people not in the professions related to building tend not to think so far ahead - which implies the people most affected may not be able to properly assess the implications - but as one way forward which seeks consensus at an early stage to avoid later delays it has something to recommend it.

FWIW

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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby PVC King » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:32 pm

On the subject of observers in the planning process and onq makes yet another vexatious post in a thread that he otherwise wasn't involved in as he prefers personal attack to answering a straight question.

BTW


The record speaks for itself; 15 reversals and 8 emasculations.......

This is not about density it is about excessive massing in specific applications being indicated as permissable to applicants without due consideration being given as to whether it would be interpreted by the planning appeals board as compliant with the development plan. The failure of some of these applications has had very serious implications for applicants, banks and by extension the taxpayer in some cases by way of the developments that would have been viable pre 2007 no longer being viable once ABP sought revised schemes.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby Devin » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:28 am

You've got to hand it to the City Council! They grant permission for anything that moves over a period of six years, then come out spitting and hissing when a review of their slap-it-all-through record is being made ..... can only be the bluster of someone backed into a corner: their efforts to remove decades-old height restrictions in the city have proven extremely unpopular (over 350 submissions to the current Draft City Dev. Plan on the height and density issue), and their agility with the rubber stamp now becoming fully exposed.

In response to DCC's claims of inaccuracy, AT say the details of the 23 cases cited by it are all backed up with links to planning decisions - http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0720/1224275075131.html

(The calling for an investigation into DCC's planning record by AT was initially reported on RTE Six One news of 13 August last year, in the wake of the Carlton scheme being hit for major changes - http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0813/9news_av.html?2593793,null,230)
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby Devin » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:55 pm

Prime Time last night on the Ghost Estates - http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0729/primetime_av.html

"At one stage we were importing people to build the houses so as we could rent them to them." (!)
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby kite » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:29 pm

Credit were it is due; well done Minister Gormley.
"Cork city has enough housing and 'zoned' land to last for another 64 years".
So much for Development plans that last 5 years!

Jail any officials or councillors that are proved guilty of cronyism.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0730/1224275811147.html
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby Smithfield Resi » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:39 pm

Regardless of your point of view as to the constitution of the Bord and how decisions are made, in reference to DCC I think it is very interesting that the Bord are now acting as the planning authority in reference to the Carlton Site. There is no more damning indictment than the 'give it here' approach ABP took with the Carlton decision - removing DCC from the planning 'loop' and asking the developer to resubmit plans to ABP and not to DCC (following a refusal).

This says an awful lot about the state of planning in Dublin. What a pity that DCC had already granted permission for demolition of the Royal Dublin Hotel.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby Devin » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:55 pm

Smithfield Resi wrote:I would have thought Meath could have provided enough material for years??
Catalogue of some of their buffoonery here:

'A Royal Tradgedy - Meath County Council and its Management are out of their depth in planning and ignore their own plans'
http://www.villagemagazine.ie/index.php/2010/03/a-royal-tragedy/
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby onq » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:20 am

Meath are well known for their planning faux pas.

A few years ago, a client - having transferred land to Meath to partly satisfy his social and affordable obligations - was surprised to see his site for over 100 houses, which was zoned land and lay directly abutting existing housing and with a reserved access passing some fourteen out of two hundred houses [minimising the impact overall] had become subject to the "prioritization" game.

To add insult to injury a site to one side of the town for an 700+ house scheme, had been prioritized, despite the local need for the town more suiting our client's 100-house scheme and despite the fact it was impossible to integrate it properly due to existing lease patterns - the town would effectively have two town centres

Part of this large scheme [co-incidentally - 100 houses!] was granted permission by Meath Co. Co, despite the fact that it contravened one of their own development plan objectives. The planning officer wrote in support of the scheme to An Bórd Pleanála, only to be rebutted by a curt reminder by the Inspector of the Council's Strategic objective which should have prevented any grant being made.

Our client's site still languishes under the Prioritization game until 2013 despite a meeting earlier this year suggesting all would be well "in a few weeks" - of course, nothing was done to redress the balance.

And the land the Council cheerfully took for a nominal amount?

Its already providing a landscaped public area, exercise trail and playground to serve the local community.

--------------------

On another site, with another client, I was requested to show where parking could be provided for a mixed development in Navan. I brought our engineer along for the next meeting and we showed where the Council could provide car spaces for us. Nothing was agreed. The Planner moved on to another position and was replaced with someone who had no agenda, who expressed his astonishment when he saw out revised parking provision layour.

"Why are you showing me this?"

We explained.

"But this is a designated urban renewal site - there aer no parking requirements."

We admitted we knew this. He was flabbergasted, but the work was in front of him which his predecessor had requested.

The last planner, the good, intelligent forward thinking planner, who liked to promote good design, was seconded to some northern townland.

The first one, the arsehole with some unknown agenda, is now the head planning officer in a Dublin local authority.

And we ended up with a third one, who couldn't make a decision to save her life for two months.
She finally accedes to the conservation officers request and took off a storey - affecting the profitably of the scheme to its serious detriment -.
This was because she thought the conservation officer's idea of leaving a view of a church from a street with a bridge obscuring the view for much of it should be adhered to.

Yet another scheme ruined by extended decision making, seeming to betray other agendas.
Its hard to know where simple incompetence stops and planning corruption begins.
But I know where it stopped with the guy looking for the car spaces - he's on my list.

So much for Meath Co Co planning.

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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby soulsearcher » Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:16 am

Interesting article from the Guardian on the apparent failures of the 'urban renaissance' movement/neoliberal culture of development in the UK:

A disdain for urban planning is the problem, not overcrowding
Owen Hatherley

England is now the second most crowded country in the European Union, after Malta. It has, for the first time, inched past the Netherlands, with 402.1 people per square kilometre, compared with the Dutch 398.5. This statistic coincides with a rise in net migration, partly caused by a decline in outward emigration. Some have already been quick to link the two.

Overcrowding, class, immigration and race have long been linked in certain quarters. From the apocalyptic 18th century predictions of Malthus through the cannibal megalopolis of the film Soylent Green to the "demographic threat" in Israel-Palestine, the prospect of a teeming mass of inferior folk causing mayhem and starvation, or simply outnumbering "us", has been a persistent obsession.

But if the EU report is given more than a cursory glance, it is easily seen that the apparently alarming statistic is actually about population density, not immigration, "over" crowding or "over" population – nor even the population density of the UK. England might have a density of 402.1 per square km, but the UK as a whole is well below the Netherlands and Belgium at 256.3, roughly the same level as Germany. Scotland and Wales are far below either, with Scotland's level of 70.9 placing it lower than Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania. So what this is really about is concentration of population in very particular places and underpopulation elsewhere. A response to that doesn't necessitate draconian immigration caps, but rather something terribly unfashionable – town planning.

Densely populated areas are not necessarily slums. Among the densest places in the UK are Mayfair and Pimlico, or the west ends of Glasgow and Edinburgh. With their expensive stucco squares and sandstone tenements, these places are by no means dystopian. Given their extreme desirability, an extremely high population density is clearly not so alarming.

Architects and planners, disenfranchised by the suburban non-plan of Thatcherism, spent the 80s and 90s agitating for tightly packed housing, the use of urban brownfield sites, compact cities, piazzas and public transport – all attempts to manage and make urban density comfortable. Under New Labour, this generation – architects like Richard Rogers, planners like Ricky Burdett – had the chance to implement these ideas.

You can see the results all over the UK, wherever "mixed use" blocks of flats fill former industrial land, in the skylines of Leeds and Manchester, in east London. Usually, the results entailed four- to 12-storey flats, built around squares, with mooted shops and facilities in the ground floor. An inner-city housing boom started to match its suburban precursor.

In reality, the shops and nurseries became empty units or estate agents, the squares were inept and windswept, and speculative developers crammed as many tiny flats into their plots as possible. In Stratford you can see the grimmest results – aesthetically stunted, architecturally bumptious towers crowding round wasteland. Does this invalidate the idea? Should we, as some Tories suggest in their screeds against the ludicrous myth of "garden grabbing", celebrate the end of the attempted "urban renaissance" and return to the pseudo-rural suburban sprawl of the 80s, and the depopulation and desuetude of our cities?

Or rather, should we acknowledge that the problem with New Labour, and Rogers and Burdett was that they didn't plan enough? Rather than being held to strict standards, developers were given carte blanche; instead of council housing easing the overcrowding of the poor, a percentage of allegedly affordable housing was sold in each block of terracotta-clad yuppiedromes. Meanness – "value engineering" as it is euphemistically known – was what made the New Labour landscape so grim, not height, planning or modernity, and certainly not overcrowding.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/26/urban-planning-overcrowding
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby gunter » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:43 pm

People say the Guardian is for over educated, middle class, lefties, with planet saving notions [unfulfilled] and that it's on a mission to challenge and preach, but that's probably a bit unfair and anyway I never mind being preached to when the person preaching is talking sense.

That article makes a decent point in that it's too easy to condemn a whole urban regeneration philosophy on the basis of the flaws in particular examples and the people who, deep down, don't really believe in urbanism will be the first ones in with the withering condemnations.

It's a debate we don't even have over here and I'd be surprised if the Gormley review starts one up, although it should have the potential to.

What's more likely to happen to the Gormley review is that the respondants will continue to bluster around the issues and we'll be left with inconclusive findings and the real debate about urban planning will never get going, or rise above the tittering around the distraction of 'Does size matter' in events like the forthcomming Open House Debate.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby PVC King » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:40 pm

In reality, the shops and nurseries became empty units or estate agents, the squares were inept and windswept, and speculative developers crammed as many tiny flats into their plots as possible. In Stratford you can see the grimmest results – aesthetically stunted, architecturally bumptious towers crowding round wasteland. Does this invalidate the idea? Should we, as some Tories suggest in their screeds against the ludicrous myth of "garden grabbing", celebrate the end of the attempted "urban renaissance" and return to the pseudo-rural suburban sprawl of the 80s, and the depopulation and desuetude of our cities?


Such polemical journalism is exactly why only Oxford educated Blairites read the Gaurdian. Conversely moves by Eric Pickles to give communities more power by removing centralised housing targets foisted on local authorities from Whitehall previously have sent the BPF into a very unfreindly view of the new coaition govt. Very few toys left in the housebuilders prams.

Retail at these locations falled in many cases because the public open space simply wasnt attractive enough for people to engage in cafe culture; if retail units tilted towards leisure fail sitting under hundreds of flats then the design of the specific local environment is clearly the problem not policy.
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby gunter » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:06 pm

PVC King wrote:. . . if retail units tilted towards leisure fail sitting under hundreds of flats then the design of the specific local environment is clearly the problem not policy.


Is that not what the guy is saying - is his own Guardian way?
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby PVC King » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:41 pm

In his own Guardian way being the operative in this case. Instead of saying that top-down planning targets force mistakes from local planners by placing pressure to hit output targets; the author introduces height and takes a swipe at Pickles which is factually incorrect.

To put the quailty of a lot of these schemes into perspective many were designed between 2002-2005 with price targets of UK€100,000 for 1 bed flats; at those price levels something had to give.

In Dublin the price for a typical & bed may have been €350,000 but the quailty was equally poor because quality simply wasnt enforced. When Liam Carroll ends up as your lqrgest apartment producer you really have to wonder who was signing off the permissions and why they accepted such low standards;
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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby onq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 1:16 pm

PVC King wrote:Such polemical journalism is exactly why only Oxford educated Blairites read the Gaurdian. Conversely moves by Eric Pickles to give communities more power by removing centralised housing targets foisted on local authorities from Whitehall previously have sent the BPF into a very unfreindly view of the new coaition govt. Very few toys left in the housebuilders prams.

Retail at these locations falled in many cases because the public open space simply wasnt attractive enough for people to engage in cafe culture; if retail units tilted towards leisure fail sitting under hundreds of flats then the design of the specific local environment is clearly the problem not policy.


I would tend to agree in that the environment at the base of tower buildings is not the best in terms of wind conditions alone, and where the urban "form" such as it is, reflects the Corbusian ideal of point-block separated by garden spaces you are goign to have the down-draft effect exacerbated by wind-tunnel effects.

You tend not to miss the shielding and wind baffling effects of 4-6 storey urban streets until its gone.

In terms of the shops and facilities, integration has worked in Dublin and Dun Laoghaire to some degree and in new towns like Ongar in the North County.

The places you describe simply may not have either enough disposable income per capita or total population numbers to have made them work. In other words, other facts than the design of the environment might have been relevant. The people in the local shop might simply have charged too much, like they do everywhere.

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Re: Gormley initiates planning review

Postby onq » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:34 pm




That's SUCH an interesting brownfield development.

The context, the references, the history.

Thanks for posting those links.

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