Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby MT » Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:23 pm

Crackdown on rural house building
By Mike McKimm
BBC Northern Ireland environment correspondent

The government has moved to end the blight of building single houses at random in the Northern Ireland countryside.

From Thursday onwards, new plans will not be considered for single rural dwellings, with few exceptions. ...


Link

So it looks as if the Irish countryside is going to be saved… well, up here at least. I note that one of the main justifications for the move is the unsustainable and car dependant nature of most random rural development. So in response our direct rulers have extended the UK policy on urban versus rural development to include the North as well. Excellent news.

Now all I’m waiting for is the first challenge to this plan from local politicians on the grounds that preserving the countryside and proper planning are not part of Irish culture. ‘Why, it’s yet more Brit oppression I tell ya.’

I wonder how different the two bits of Ireland will look some decades from now if new development is restricted to urban areas up here while one-off construction continues apace in the Republic. It would be highly ironic indeed if British rule is responsible for the only part of Ireland where the emerald isle has been preserved. ‘Damn those Sassenach and their planning tyranny.’

I suppose it also adds a new dimension to the age old political question: do I vote for a united Ireland and completely wreck the Irish countryside or support a continued union with Britain and preserve what’s left of it! ;)

Anyway, I'm off down to the local hedge school where this week we’ll be learning about the Annals of the Four Masters and how building yellow bungalows on hilltops was always apart of our ancient culture… really. Better watch out for the Red Coats on the way.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby ctesiphon » Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:37 pm

Good news for Northern Ireland, but I wonder what its impact on our border counties will be. Donegal's one-offs are already partly the result of Northerners living just over the border. Might this galvanise our politicians? Might pigs fly?
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby PVC King » Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:38 pm

A look at Cavan reveals much the same picture even prior to this move
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby MT » Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:13 pm

Bungalow distribution in 2050??
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby GregF » Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:30 pm

Ha ha ...good one MT.....It could be very very possible with the way things are going.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby MT » Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:47 am

Maybe it’s apocryphal but apparently the ‘Irish’ film Waking Ned Devine – the one about the village conspiring to win the lottery – was filmed on the Isle of Man as it was felt the countryside there better resembled what Ireland should look like. In other words the Manx countryside has been properly preserved while the Emerald Isle (a description that’s becoming increasing farcical) has been covered in bungalows and McMansions.

Even if that claim is a myth and the film makers were drawn by tax incentives and nothing else, why is it that the people of this island couldn’t give a toss about the environment when the Scots, Manx, Welsh and the English have gone to huge lengths to preserve their rolling green fields, etc. It takes an undemocratic dictate from direct rule ministers in Northern Ireland to force its people to stop the destruction. Meanwhile in the Republic the race to the bottom continues at full tilt.

What will our descendants think when they see an ugly disfigured countryside where every worthwhile view has been blemished with one-off sprawl. Won’t they look at the beauty of the rural landscapes of our nearest neighbours and wonder what the hell we were thinking?

Can you imagine how this Manx valley would fare in the Ireland of the 21st century? I imagine its unspoilt greenness wouldn’t look anywhere near as green on the ‘Emerald’ Isle itself. :(
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby a boyle » Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:00 am

Swings and roundabouts : hopefully there will be some green pasture left before we hit the roundabout.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby Devin » Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:27 am

There hasn’t been much so far in the media down here about this, but I've a feeling there's stuff coming up.

The government need a good kicking about the one-off housing situation here and this new NI rule could be the thing to do it.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby GregF » Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:37 pm

It has to be said that the Celtic Tiger and the burgeoning economy has brought an abundance of wealth to Ireland and isn't it great. I know the downside too, ie sluggish health service, transport congestion etc..., but this ongoing boom has never ever been the case before, for the people and country, bar maybe a brief period in the 1960's and the Celtic Golden Age of Ardagh Chalices etc..
But did anyone see on the news last night and today's Irish Times that a report issued by NCB stockbrokers says that growth is to continue at an unstoppable pace. It forcasts that the population of the Republic of Ireland is expected to rise with increased births to over 5 million by 2020 and to over 6 million by 2050. One fifth of the population will be migrant workers. This is incredible to think that the population will be nearing pre-1845 famine levels. Many new homes will be needed and our cities and towns as well as the landscape will be almost unrecognizable no doubt; changing to suit the needs. However, the concentration of people should be in the cities and towns however not sprawling into the country side. The sprawl has to be curbed. High rise will be inevitable too, no doubt.
The report says that there will be almost 3 million cars on Irish roads. It seems like that now. The number of houses is expected to continue growing by around 65,000 units a year until at least 2020.
These are great times, and changing times too. I'd rather be optimistic than pessimistic about it.
Welcome to the 21st century, Ireland.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby MT » Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:44 pm

While I agree, Greg, that the Celtic tiger is a wonderful development I think people’s attitudes towards it are part of the problem. The Republic was until recently quite a poor country and as a result it seems that the economic transformation over the past decade has been greeted with the same sort of bewildered euphoria that met the onset of industrialisation in many longer established developed nations. Britain, Germany and the US all went through the wide eyed and what you might describe as ‘shocked peasant’ period. As a result all development was seen as good and a further step away from the grinding poverty of the past.

But the thing is, countries such as Britain have long since realised through prolonged exposure to industrialisation that with the bright new dawn comes the odd cloud. People there realised many decades ago that development left unchecked would soon eat up all the remaining beauty of the countryside. Add to this that it’s almost two centuries since the bulk of the British population lived and worked in the countryside and there’s probably a far greater appreciation of what could be lost in the UK.

Ireland on the other hand is pretty much new to all this. People have yet to become as discerning in their response to economic change. It’s understandable of course. If you’ve grown up on tales of emigration, poverty and a soul destroying scarcity of jobs the new era must seem like a long overdue change in fortune. Not something to be casually scoffed at. But the longer this rather naïve and dazed wonderment continues the greater the chance of irreversible and disastrous destruction of the landscape looms.

Particularly with one-offs. 10,000 houses spread randomly over the countryside results in far greater disfigurement, far faster than the much slower rate of urban expanse Britain experienced with 10,000 dwellings built in estates right on the edge of towns. The latter still leaves huge areas of the rural landscape untouched in anyway by change. Accordingly, the UK had time on its side to realise the impact of industrialisation. But Ireland doesn’t. The random blitz of the countryside with bungalows and McMansions means that almost every last bit of the Irish landscape is being permanently marked with new development.

It’s the nature of Irish development – a huge emphasis on one-offs – much more than the quantity of stuff built or the welcome economic growth that has spurred it that is the greatest threat to an island fast losing its once legendary beauty.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby PDLL » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:52 pm

MT wrote:But the thing is, countries such as Britain have long since realised through prolonged exposure to industrialisation that with the bright new dawn comes the odd cloud. People there realised many decades ago that development left unchecked would soon eat up all the remaining beauty of the countryside. Add to this that it’s almost two centuries since the bulk of the British population lived and worked in the countryside and there’s probably a far greater appreciation of what could be lost in the UK..


I have made my arguments on one-off houses in other threads and will leave it at that. However, with regards to the above comment, this could be considered in another light. Perhaps it is precisely because Ireland has witnessed the immense ugliness that industrialized and mass urbanism brought with it in Britain that they often wish and choose to live in the countryside. Maybe it is us who have learned from the mistakes of British urbanism and hence wish to 'return to the land', for whatever social or utopian reason. Lets face it, I hardly think holding up such dystopian nightmares like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Swindon and so on as forms of human settlement preferable to one-offs is something we should espouse!
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby PVC King » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:50 pm

Great idea lets airbrush out all trace of urbanism and countryside by having a 26 county suburbia
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby MT » Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:20 pm

PDLL wrote:I have made my arguments on one-off houses ...


But PDLL, surely there’]Douglas[/URL] on the Isle of Man. Surely such a settlement with 25,000 inhabitants can’t be hellish to live in. I’m sure most people there are very happy at the compromise of living in a medium sized town while the countryside beyond its boundary is preserved for all to enjoy.

It's not a choice of vast metropolises or bungalow prairies. What about the humble town?
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby henry » Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:59 pm

i think this is a bad thing.all that this means is developers are going to make more and more money forcing people that might have had a chance of building a house of thier own to paying over the odds for a glorifed shoe box to fill the developers pockets.
One off housing should be allowed but there should be more stringent controls as to the design of the houses.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby PVC King » Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:43 pm

To take the historical approach I think that one offs should only be permitted if they are of a traditional size; i.e. 300-550 square feet, only if they use traditional materials and only if the occupants work within walking distance of their homes.

To state that developers are building shoe boxes is simply not true; with the exception of a very small number of city centre apartments the average 'scheme' built home is between 800-1500 square feet.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby PDLL » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:24 pm

MT makes reasonable points and I do not take issue with them. There is, however, a sense of idealism attached to all of this. Many many small scale towns in Britain are truly depressing places with about as much soul as a dead dog. Yes, there are some absolutely beuatiful towns and villages in Britain, but the property prices are usually so high that the average punter ends up living in an awful council house type estate in some dead town on the outskirts of an even deader bigger city. That is very often the reality of urban life in Britain and it brings social consequences with it, not least being the sense of rampant individualism and social fragmentation which have been widely understood to underpin British society since the industrial revolution. If you want to get a good insight into that feeling, have a read of Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus (from about the 1830s) - a perfect description of the destructive nature of mass urbanism if ever there was one. If vibrant small to medium sized towns can be developed without these social consequences, then fantastic, but if such towns were so fantastic then why is every civil servant in Dublin whining about the possibility of being de-centalized to some 'backwater' like Tralee, Castlebar or whereever!!
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby PDLL » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:34 pm

Sorry for second post, but wanted to add this to first but cannot.

If you want to remove the right of people to build one-offs on the basis that they spoil the environment and are uneconomical, then surely all who would support that logic would also favour regulations that limit the type of car one buys. After all, who needs a 4X4 or a BMW coupe when a Ford Focus or something less damaging on the environment would serve the same function adequately. In short, there should be regulations stating that a single person should only have a 1.1 3 door car, a family should be allowed a 1.5 5 door car and so on. Would this be considered an infringement of one's personal liberty to possess a car that one desires? If you agree, then you have to agree that one should be allowed to build a one-off according to one's desires. Before anyone posts anything more about one-offs first of all ask yourself do you practice what you pontificate by owning only the least environmentally damaging form of transport possible given your family and lifestyle circumstances. Would you object if the Government turned round and told you to sell your Audi 2 litre and get a Fiesta as that is all you need for your particular circumstances. I have a feeling that there are a good percentage of the anti-one-off brigade that would find this problematic.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:28 pm

I know we've been down this road before (so to speak) so I'll confine my comments to responding to the above.

The only vehicle I own is a bicycle, the least environmentally damaging of all (except walking?). I do agree that there should be limits put on the types of vehicles that people can buy/own, though I acknowledge that there can be legitimate cases for ownership of certain vehicles, e.g. 4x4s for certain farmers etc.
Is this an infringement of personal liberty? Yes it is. Is this a reason not to do it? No it's not. Unfettered personal liberty should be avoided at all costs.

I find it interesting, and a little ironic, PDLL, that you fear rampant individualism as the consequence of the type of urban alienation you mention above, for what is our one-off culture if not, at base, pure individualism? Or is it only certain types of individualism that you're in favour of?;)

The reason people are 'whining' about decentralisation, is that it is being forced on them with no consultation, there is a very real fear of being sidelined on the career ladder, and they have no say in the location to which they'll be decentralised (I've said this before, here). Now, rural one-off life isn't for me, nor small town life (yet?)- I'm a city boy at heart who likes to be near cultural attractions etc., but I do acknowledge that for plenty of people I know, moving (back) to the country is their dream. But they want to choose where they go.
I think it's a little disingenouous to use the anti-'decentralisation' argument as an argument against the viability of medum-sized country towns per se.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby Rusty Cogs » Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:29 pm

MT wrote:Maybe it’s apocryphal but apparently the ‘Irish’ film Waking Ned Devine – the one about the village conspiring to win the lottery – was filmed on the Isle of Man as it was felt the countryside there better resembled what Ireland should look like. In other words the Manx countryside has been properly preserved while the Emerald Isle (a description that’s becoming increasing farcical) has been covered in bungalows and McMansions.

Even if that claim is a myth and the film makers were drawn by tax incentives and nothing else, why is it that the people of this island couldn’t give a toss about the environment when the Scots, Manx, Welsh and the English have gone to huge lengths to preserve their rolling green fields, etc. It takes an undemocratic dictate from direct rule ministers in Northern Ireland to force its people to stop the destruction. Meanwhile in the Republic the race to the bottom continues at full tilt.

What will our descendants think when they see an ugly disfigured countryside where every worthwhile view has been blemished with one-off sprawl. Won’t they look at the beauty of the rural landscapes of our nearest neighbours and wonder what the hell we were thinking?

Can you imagine how this Manx valley would fare in the Ireland of the 21st century? I imagine its unspoilt greenness wouldn’t look anywhere near as green on the ‘Emerald’ Isle itself. :(


That new (rubbish) movie with Andrea Corr set in Clare in the 60's (The boys and girls of somewhere or other ?) was also made in both the Isle of Man and N. Ireland. Obviously the only places that look like Clare in the 60's, including Clare.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby PDLL » Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:50 pm

Methinks a modicum of perspective is required.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:22 pm

I cannot believe that people have a problem with this. After driving around Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Fermanagh over the last week, I can safel say that the nicest unspoilt area was Fermanagh. No miles and miles of uber-bungalows....

I'm all for it
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby phil » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:49 pm

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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby Andrew Duffy » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:05 pm

There are one-offs in the third picture:

Image
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby GregF » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:18 pm

Rusty Cogs wrote:That new (rubbish) movie with Andrea Corr set in Clare in the 60's (The boys and girls of somewhere or other ?) was also made in both the Isle of Man and N. Ireland. Obviously the only places that look like Clare in the 60's, including Clare.




I don't think the countryside is that much drastically destroyed as yet ....I bet those movies were made in the Isle of man because of the cheaper tax breaks, cheaper costs etc.........It was a cheap film.

Ken Boorman made Excalibur here 20 odd years ago in Wicklow and still after all those years the revisionist Walt Disney Arthur epic was only recently made here too as well as Lassie. There is still a bit of some unspoilt scenery.

With a boom and increase in population it is bound display some elements of civilization. We've never experienced this before. The last time there was such a building boom throughout the whole country I think it was the Normans who were responsible. Before that it was the mesolithics and neolithics.

Tighter planning laws just need to be applied on where and what to build regarding the countryside. Everyone should get on to their local rural TD's and complain then. Where's the mouthy Green Party when they're needed.
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Re: Blanket ban on one-off housing in Northern Ireland announced

Postby PDLL » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:33 pm

!

And do they genuinely destroy the scene? Are they truly that offensive that you would stop your car on a country road and go - damn, look at those white specks on the horizon - I bet you people live in those - how could they scar the environment in such a selfish manner. If you do, then you would be better off focussing on the road. Equally so, people would be better off cleaning out much of north-inner city Dublin - probably the greatest blight on the Irish landscape at this moment in time. Just because the population density means that a bus-route is viable doesn't mean that such settlements are either socially or aesthetically desireable.

People are under a bit of a misinterpretation here about the development of the urban and rural landscape in Britain. The migration of people from the countryside to the cities in England was NEVER planned, nor was it even considered remotely desireable by many during the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century. The removal of human habitation from the British countryside was the direct result of industrial capitalism gone mad. That is a socio-historical fact. It had nothing to do with any form of environmental policy and that it is now considered to be environmentally preferential is a mere curiosity of the vagaries of human settlement history. For nearly two centuries the migration of people from the british countryside was bemoaned as the death of rural England (not its birth - as is being suggested with regard to Ireland). To ignore that fact is to present nothing more than a skewed picture of social reality and history. The vision of a depopulated rural England as something positive is a relatively recent phenomenon.
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