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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 20 December, 2014

Dublin city has 300 vacant sites despite needing over 37,000 housing units

Will Dublin City Council be liable for the undeveloped site levy? They’re not sure.

Dublin Docklands
Dublin Docklands
Image: William Murphy/Flickr

THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 300 vacant sites identified by Dublin City Council that have not been developed on.

Yesterday, a report by the government’s advisory body the Housing Agency, stated that Dublin was in dire need of 37,581 units, about 47 per cent of the total housing units needed in Ireland.

A mere 8,488 housing completions nationally in 2012 compared to 93,419 in 2006 which was the peak year of housing construction activity.

On undeveloped sites, the council say they have planning permission on:

  • Site at O’ Devaney Gardens
  • Site at Dominick Street
  • Charlemont Street
  • Buttercup Park Darndale
  • Crampton Buildgs

Decisions are pending at St.Teresa’s Gardens and Dolphin Estate and Park is about to go to planning.

Audit

According to the council an audit is currently underway of all vacant land on the books. Currently they are at the stage of clarifying the status and category of each site.

Once they have verified what each site is, a GIS map will be produced, they said.

Last year, a hoarding tax was proposed by Dublin City Councillor Paul McAuliffe, which would see the owners of sites with wooden hoardings, previously used to fence off the area during construction, face a “financial penalty” if they were not replaced by a steel fence or stone wall.

He said it could raise €1.2 million towards unpaid development levies.

Levy on developers

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn welcomed the government’s proposal of imposing a harsh levy on developers who don’t build on prime sites, with the mayor actually setting up a task force on the issue last summer.

It’s understood the ‘levy’ proposal is being considered as part of a range of measures aimed at increasing housing supply in the country.

A spokesperson for building industry body the CIF said that while the overall plan aimed at boosting supply of homes was to be welcomed, the imposition of a levy on developers would only serve to provide another “barrier to building” and would ultimately push up prices for house purchasers.

However, while many sites in Dublin and the around the country are in private ownership, some are owned by the council – meaning they could be classed as the developer for the site, therefore, incurring the penalty.

Speaking about the 300 sites identified, a spokesperson for the council said:

The vast majority of sites are in private ownership.

When asked whether the council, just like developers would be liable for leaving sites idle and undeveloped, the council stated:

It is not possible to comment on any levy pending publication of the details.
The Department of the Environment said the role of a vacant sites levy is one of the issues currently being examined by the government in the context of its Construction Strategy.

“It is expected that the construction strategy will be discussed by Cabinet in the coming weeks,” they added.

 Read: Dublin councillor wants tax on unsightly wooden hoardings>

Read:  Plan to target land-hoarders could create tens of thousands of jobs>

Related: Lord Mayor: Developers hanging on to prime Dublin sites should face penalties>

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