County’s housing plan sparks NAMA objection

by Gazette Reporter

THE National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is objecting to a stipulation in the draft Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan that all new houses and commercial developments comply with passive housing standards.
“Passive” refers to a rigorous standard for energy efficiency in a building where it requires little energy for space or cooling.
In February, councillors voted 23 to 14 to insert the requirement into the draft development plan 2016-22.
It then went out to public consultation, during which, NAMA made a lengthy submission, including an objection to passive housing element.
It stated: “We note the reference within the draft plan to passive house standards in the context of new residential construction in the county. We recommend that any determination on specific energy requirements for new buildings … should come from national standards, and regulations should be removed from the county plan.”
However, Cllr Victor Boyhan (Ind) said: “I will continue to actively support the promotion of a robust policy for both private and local authority housing along the lines of the passive house model for inclusion in the council’s new county development plan.”
In its submission, NAMA drew attention to the availability of 400 hectares in the county, which could yield 18,000 homes, and suggested the council concentrate on achieving this. It is understood the agency controls substantial land and property in the DLR area.
A NAMA spokesperson told The Gazette: “Property with a value of €7.7bn in Dublin city and county is used to secure borrowings owed by NAMA debtors to NAMA, as at end of December, 2014.
“We have not broken down this figure by local authorities within Dublin city and county.”
Cllr Patricia Stewart (FG) said the passive house requirement seemed like a good idea at the time but, on reflection: “Building regulations, which apply nationally, are probably more suitable. Otherwise we are in danger of chasing away developers into other counties.”
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) also said very little house building would take place in DLR if these measures were adopted.
However, Cllr Karl Gill (PBP) found the proposals for passive housing were, for most councillors, “perfectly reasonable and sensible, so NAMA should take a back seat and be quiet”.
Dublin City Cllr Ciaran Cuffe (GP) was “saddened that NAMA and the CIF are objecting to this” but he added that he understood that the CIF “also objected to mandatory insulation when it was first proposed. It is time we bit the bullet and improved energy standards now, rather than at some distant date in the future.”

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