Meath a ‘front runner’ for providing housing
Meath County Council was outperforming many other local authorities in the State in terms of the provision of housing, an official has told Meath county councillors.
Senior Planner Padraig Maguire was speaking at a meeting of councillors convened to progress a new county development plan to cover the next six years. The councillors were considering an Economic and Social Research Institute report on the issue and the implications of ministerial guidelines on housing provision.
All local authorities have been asked to carry out housing needs assessments in their area, taking into account population growth projections.
Mr Maguire said that Meath was one of the “front runners” in providing housing at the moment. While there might be a shortage of housing at national level, that was not the situation in Meath which was out-performing other counties. “Our development plan is more than adequate in being able to provide housing”, he said.
However, the real challenge for the local authority would arise in the next development plan, post 2027, he said. While there was a need to “ramp up” housing delivery, it was the case that Meath had done that already.
Fine Gael Cllr Gerry O’Connor said that if the population of Meath was to increase to 225,00 there had to be a quid quo pro” in terms of the provision of rail and road links and a new regional hospital. If the population was to increase to that level Meath would b asked to provide housing for people who were working in Dublin.
On a separate topic – the possible movement of industrial units out of the Dublin area – Fine Gael Cllr Joe Fox said that the possibility that industrial/commercial units could be shifted away from the capital. Meath stood to gain and it was important that the county ramp up the provision of zoned land that would give employment.
That would benefit the county’s rate base but also allow people to live and work in the same area, he said. His FG colleague Cllr Maria Murphy said that there were roads in Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin and Ratoath that needed to be opened up but they needed to know who would provide this. If it was down to developers, then the cost would be passed on to house buyers. They needed to ensure that housing was affordable, she said.
Fianna Fail Cllr Sean Drew asked whether there might be a need for more “Phase 2” zoning in the council’s new development plan.
Council official Padraig Maguire said that there was no need for additional lands for residential purposes.