With the decision on large scale planning soon to be restored from the Strategic Housing Development to local authorities, Cllr Joan Hopkins sees more opportunities than just rezoning in the pipeline.
According to Cllr Hopkins there needs to be a greater emphasis on people to take up existing planning permissions that have already been granted by the council. “We can’t just rely on rezoning to increase our housing supply, there are planning permissions in existence out there that should be taken up first” insists the councillor.
The issue of vacant buildings is something which Cllr Hopkins sees as a further opportunity and citing the number of empty buildings on Harbour Road, Howth and the West Pier, the councillor added, “it is vital that we also look at existing building stock to ensure that it is functioning and in use, because it is not just about rezoning, it is about re-thinking, reusing and only then rezoning.”
Acknowledging people’s concerns over the new cycle lanes in Baldoyle, Sutton and Howth, Cllr. Hopkins was eager to stress their significance, “it is really important that we encourage people to get on their bike, it is better for the environment and better for their health and providing safe cycle ways will be crucial in our drive away from fossil fuels”.
Cllr Hopkins went on to say “ when we were kids we could cycle everywhere, to school, tennis, the beach, our friends – it gave us enormous sense of freedom and parents tell me all the time that the reason they don’t let their children cycle is, because it is not safe.”
Recognising that the cycle lanes are not pretty and that they may pose an inconvenience, on balance, Cllr Hopkins sees their clear benefit “I think it is worth it, to have more people, especially kids, so they can cycle safely and unless and until someone comes up with an alternative, I will continue to support and advocate for them” concludes Cllr Hopkins.