Planning Portal

Soaring House Prices Not A Reason To Relax Greenbelt Planning Policy, Says City Planner

Published on Thu, 9 Nov 2000
Escalating house prices do not indicate a housing land shortage, DOE's Belfast Planning Manager, Bill Morrison, told estate agents today.
"We should not be fooled into thinking a sharp rise in house prices must mean there is urgent need to release more green fields for house building," he said.
Mr Morrison was speaking at a conference run by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
He said: "Tougher planning policies were a necessary response to escalating property values, and not a cause of them.
"But the city, and the towns around it, will have to expand. We need only look at what is happening south of the border to see how population and economic growth creates massive pressure for urbanisation.
"While sustainability lies at the heart of all planning policy, that does not mean locking into the English model of urban containment to deliver it. The challenge for Northern Ireland is very different and with growth in prospect, planning policy must be bold and imaginative. Our mission must be to capture investment and harness that growth.
"Urban planning policies will not deliver economic growth but they can seriously frustrate it. We must not let that happen. The Belfast city region is the ballpark, and we need a clear vision of where development is to go. This is the moment to come forward with a bold development strategy so simple it can be printed on the back of a T-shirt."

Notes to Editors

Bill Morrison is the Divisional Planning Manager for Belfast.
The conference, run by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and sponsored by the Bank of Ireland, is entitled "Sustainability: Property's Friend or Foe?" The conference is being held in the King's Hall Conference Centre, Belfast, on Thursday 9 November 2000.
For further information please contact Philip Maguire DOE Press Office Tel 028 9054 0013
Get Adobe Reader software (link opens in a new browser window)