Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor

On the island of Ireland, the number of people living in one jurisdiction and travelling to employment in the other continues to rise. People and goods move freely between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, with Northern Ireland remaining part of the EU customs market as a consequence of the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol. On the eastern seaboard of the island of Ireland this proposition is enhanced by continuous dual carriageway / motorway between Belfast and Dublin that has reduced road travel time between the capitals to less than two hours; both governments have also committed to reviewing high-speed rail connectivity.

In addition, there is renewed interest in the eastern corridor concept, first promoted 25 years ago by Sir George Quigley. Eight local authorities joined together in March 2021 to launch the Dublin- Belfast Economic Corridor (DBEC) initiative, incorporating a region of 2 million people described as “Ireland’s most important region” (DBEC, 2023). It is within this context that this project, investigating the influence of spatial planning policy on cross-border housing markets, is timely. As a result of Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol, there has been much scrutiny of people and trade crossing the Irish border. Little is known, however, about cross-border housing markets. Therefore, this research seeks to address a gap in the current understanding of relationships between planning policy and housing markets across what is now a UK-EU frontier.

Therefore, this project aims to determine the extent to which current local and strategic planning policy on the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor (DBEC) influences cross-border housing market dynamics and how the DBEC concept may, in the future, impact policy and markets. This report also provides guidance – through policy and practice recommendations – on what the future might look like as the DBEC concept matures.

Author(s): Neale Blair, Joe Frey, Dáithí Downey, Declan Redmond, Clare Williamson
Published: 27 March 2024
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