The Irish Planning Institute held their national convention in Athlone and we were pleased to see one of our own as one of the opening speakers at it. The points raised about planning, housing, and the importance of household wealth were received well by the audience which was about 300 strong and made up of the key players in planning throughout Ireland.
Claire O’Sullivan of The Irish Examiner followed up with a good piece on the conference and quoted Karl Deeter extensively, the excerpts from the article are below.
The Government should consider removing the rights of people to object to proposed developments as it is hugely costly, causes delays, and is not necessary, the Irish Planning Institute’s annual conference heard.
A compliance manager with the Irish Mortgage Brokers Association, Karl Deeter, said instead there should be greater trust in the ability of planners and the local authority.
He said a “third party right to object” did not exist in many countries as the planning departments and local authority are expected to make the correct decision.
“The role of the planner as a planning professional needs to be strengthened so we are not getting caught up in endless objections to projects, as it’s hugely costly and causes projects to come in behind time,” he said.
Mr Deeter also argued a new land tax should be introduced for all land, not just land in urban areas.
“In cities, in particular, there are a lot of people holding onto land and to buildings in the expectation of rising prices; there is an expectation that you can just sit on it and that is causing serious problems in terms of housing supply in this country,” he claimed. “If landowners want to sit on it, let it be taxed.”
He also said agricultural land should not be excluded from such a tax. “Land is an asset that generates grants if not income. Farmers can’t have it both ways: They get their grants and CAP payments for this asset so why shouldn’t they pay tax?
“Rates are paid on commercial buildings so why shouldn’t they be paying an annual tax?”
In his speech to the annual gathering of planners in Athlone, he was also vocal in his condemnation of modular housing plans in Dublin.
“Heads should roll over this. People who were involved in planning this project have serious questions to answer. These emergency houses were costing €100,000 each, then €140,000 and now €240,000. They don’t make sense any longer — if you can buy a house down the street for €70,000 less. Why and how did they get it so wrong?” he said.