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Dublin: 11 °C Sunday 12 July, 2020
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New social housing plan would force developers to 'use it or lose it'

And fine them for leaving property vacant.

Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT’S NEW plan for social housing will speed up building projects, forcing developers to “use it or lose it” when it comes to planning permission.

The announcement today stated that the Planning No. 1 Bill would:

[Enable] planning authorities to modify the duration of planning permissions where developments of scale do not commence in line with the development schedule indicated in relevant planning applications.

In other words, a “use it or lose it” approach.

The legislation would also force developers to provide up to 10% of their housing units for social housing, and impose fines for leaving a site vacant.

The new “vacant site levy” would allow local authorities in towns and cities with a population above 3,000 to fine property owners 3% of the market value of a site, if they leave it vacant or underused.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly, who has cabinet responsibility for housing, announced the planned legislation today, saying:

While I recognise these provisions will create challenges for builders, I am anxious to work with the construction industry to develop new funding models in order to deliver this housing.

His department estimates that the new measures will provide 4,000 new social housing units over the next five years.

Today’s announcement is part of the government’s Construction 2020 Strategy, which plans to triple housing output in Ireland, and create 60,000 new construction jobs, by 2020.

Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash, said that the reforms should mean a boost for employment in the construction sector.

He said:

“Unfortunately, owning a home is out of reach for many low and middle income earners.  I believe the measures outlined today will assist in increasing the housing supply particularly to low income families and also may go some way to addressing the housing rent increases that we have seen in many places, particularly our cities.”

Read: So just what is the government doing about homelessness?>

No, our new plan won’t fuel a housing bubble – Michael Noonan>

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Dan MacGuill

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