Nama setting up committee on ‘ghost’ estates, says Minister
NAMA IS establishing a committee, consisting of professional planners and architects, to examine what should be done with “ghost” housing estates, Minister of State for Planning Ciarán Cuffe will tell planners today. It is understood from other sources that the committee will be chaired by former Fingal county manager Willie Soffe and that its membership will include Michael Wall, an architect, planner, barrister and former member of An Bord Pleanála. In his first major speech since taking office, Mr Cuffe will tell the Irish Planning Institute’s annual conference in Tullamore, Co Offaly, that a new group has been set up in the Department of the Environment to advise on uncompleted estates.
“The work of the team will include assessment of the situation across the country, to be completed by the end of the summer. It will categorise, on a city and county basis: the overall numbers of housing developments, completed and occupied developments, units ready for sale, units near completion, units at specific earlier stages of construction, and units not started at all.
“The group will also develop a practical manual by the end of the summer to be used in resolving sites and in ensuring that every local authority in the State has a proper strategy to deal with any uncompleted housing development in their area”, Mr Cuffe will say.
In the short term, the priority would be to “ensure that the owners of sites, be they developers or financial institutions, honour their obligations on making sites safe and secure and we will work with local authorities to ensure this is the immediate priority for their attention.”