There is an ongoing high-stakes dispute between major builders and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council over new planning guidelines to govern apartment development in the South Dublin suburbs for years to come.
Under the council’s plan, a higher number of three-bedroom apartments will be built in key areas, while all apartment blocks should have better storage space and parking.
The measures set out in the council’s 2022-2028 draft development plan and proposed amendments have raised hackles from builders and estate agents selling new homes.
However, the amendments have already been agreed upon by councillors, so they would have to be reversed to remove them – which explains the lobbying effort now underway.
If followed, the proposals will improve the mix and quality of apartments, requiring that 40 percent of all apartments in complexes with more than 50 apartments have three bedrooms.
However, critics argue that they will stifle the supply of new apartments, thereby not solving the prolonged housing crisis, despite a succession of state interventions.
In fact, the crisis has only intensified since the draft plan was first published in October 2020. The council has indicated it will adopt a plan in March, which would set the rules to last for a decade.
A public consultation on the proposed amendments runs until January 17. But dozens of submissions have been published, including many from property developers.
Quinton Developments, which plans to build 3,700 homes on 120 acres in Cherrywood, has strongly questioned plans for larger apartments and better ancillary services.
It has deployed estate agents Knight Frank and Sevilles Ireland on its behalf, while another major builder in the area, Cairn, wants key elements of the plan to be removed. So, so does Glenveagh Virtues.
Quinton’s 18-page submission explains his displeasure at the council’s actions. In a submission prepared by consultant Stephen Little & Associates, the company said it faced “significant” costs and delays in complying with such regulations.
“We note that there were a significant number of submissions to the draft plan that presented evidence in support of this objective, including one by Quinton Ireland. It is regrettable that these submissions did not receive much attention,” it said. said.
“As one of Ireland’s largest residential developers and house builders, we believe there is a limited demand for three-bed apartments in large scale developments at the proposed volume. Our idea has been supported by a number of reputable commercial agents. , which also has first-hand, market-driven data in locating potential buyers and funders in new schemes. Evidence from our combined experience points to the greatest demand for one- and two-bedroom apartment units and we see that this Will continue in future also.”
Among other concerns, Cairn questioned proposals in which build-to-rent projects would be “open for consideration” as opposed to “in principle allowed”. In a presentation prepared by consultant John Spain Associates, Cairn said such a move would have a “harmful impact” on the institutional investments that are critical to the growth of the sector.
“It is important to note that this inward investment dependent on international capital, which, similar to investment in the broader economy, is mobile. In this regard, it is inevitable that this mobile capital will be discouraged from investing in Ireland and where The regulatory environment is more conducive, want to invest there,” Cairn said.
“The in-principle permitted use would also serve to relax the International Pension/Investment Fund, where there have been some notable announcements of discontinuation of investment in this sector.”
In his presentation, Glenveagh questioned the need to have a certain percentage of three-bed units in build-to-rent plans, saying it was neither clear nor in line with national guidelines. A paper by consultant McCutcheon Haley states that the 40 percent requirement for three-bed units in some plans is “commercially commercialized, given current market trends and our customer’s analysis and experience of delivering residential plans nationwide.” was not considered viable”.
The council did not comment on the gist of the arguments, saying it had received 60 submissions and that its chief executive would prepare a report for councillors. But now the time of crisis has come. Builders have a big game for late concessions. In the coming weeks, it will be for councilors to decide whether to accept their demands.