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Key urban regeneration legislation makes the statute book

Words: Roger Milne

Ireland’s Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill 2015 has been passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas and is now on the statute book.

There are two main strands to the legislation. First, a new vacant site levy on housing or regeneration lands suitable for housing but not coming forward for development and, second, measures to streamline housing delivery - including revisions to social housing and development contributions requirements.

Housing and planning minister Paudie Coffey said: “It will now be up to local authorities to examine their development plans from now into 2016 and identify sites that are ready to go but are not advancing and, where there are critical housing shortages, to prepare vacant sites registers and contact owners.”

He added: “Landowners will have ample opportunity to engage with local authorities and there is an appeal mechanism in place, but I and the government hope that the signalling effect of the levy will start people thinking about getting strategically located but idle sites into more beneficial use.”

The legislation includes changes to the affordable housing provisions in Part V of the Planning and Development Acts.

These new Part V arrangements can be retrospectively applied to existing planning permissions where works have not started.

“The aim and priority is to kick-start construction activity and secure social housing units on-site. To that end, the practice of developers making cash payments in lieu of social housing is discontinued under the new legislation,” said Coffey.

Image courtesy of Fine Gael