'We have huge potential': Housing expert on rapid conversion of commercial units in Ireland

Plans to convert commercial units into retail units in Britain would be suitable in Ireland according to a housing expert. Picture: Dan Linehan

The UK is looking at reviving its High Streets by proposing to allow commercial units to change to residential without planning permission.

Over 6,000 jobs were cut from the retail sector in the country this week as stores announce they are cutting staff.

In Ireland, due to the Covid-19 pandemic- Debenhams, Oasis, Warehouse and Mothercare have all announced they are ending Irish operations.

Lorcan Sirr, a housing lecturer at Technological University Dublin, says an idea like the one in the UK would be beneficial here. 

Mr Sirr said: "There is potential for 4,000 units above the shop in Dublin city alone. 

"And then you start to add in Athlone and Limerick and Galaway and all the other places around the country.

"So we have huge potential."

Mr Sirr said one of the main reasons that so few of the vacant residential units above commercial outlets are being used is due to the rebate on commercial rates the payer is entitled to. 

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