Planners to discuss 'ghost estates' blight

Top planners will join forces today to discuss how to tackle the growing blight of ghost estates.

The Irish Planning Institute (IPI) conference will explore what to do with up to 350,000 houses estimated to be lying empty around the country.

The event comes just days after Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh warned the state bad-bank may be forced to knock down unfinished property developments outside Dublin.

“This is a very relevant theme at this time in our economy”, IPI president Gerry Sheeran said.

“In the aftermath of the economic crisis and the bad decisions which led us here, the need for good planning is more evident than ever.”

Other issues to be debated at the Planning for a Smarter Ireland-themed conference include promoting sustainable recovery, capturing innovation and the future of the country’s town centres.

Delegates in Tullamore, Co Offaly, will also be addressed by new Minister of State for Planning, Ciaran Cuffe, on solutions for the empty and unfinished properties.

Independent research from the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis at NUI Maynooth reported 302,625 houses are not inhabited, including properties for rent or for sale, homes not on the market and abandoned houses.

The figure does not include the estimated 49,000 holiday homes.

The IPI conference runs until tomorrow at the Tullamore Court Hotel.

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