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Land Development Agency launched in Ireland

Words: Roger Milne
Brick laying / Shutterstock_462881611

The Irish Government has set up and formally launched its promised Land Development Agency (LDA), which is designed to build 150,000 new homes over the next 20 years.

Creating the €1.25 billion agency, which has a chief executive and management team already in place, was a key element of Project Ireland 2040.

The new body has an immediate focus on managing the state’s own land to develop new homes, and regenerate underused sites. The LDA will have compulsory purchase powers.

In the longer term it will assemble strategic landbanks from a mix of public and private lands, making these available for housing in a controlled manner, which should bring some essential long-term stability to the Irish housing market.

It has an initial pipeline of state land that can deliver 10,000 homes, with 3,000 of those homes on land that has already been secured. The agency is already in the process of expanding its portfolio.

It will have two main functions:

  • Coordinating appropriate state lands for regeneration and development, opening key sites which are not being used effectively for housing delivery; and
  • Driving strategic land assembly, working with both public and private sector land owners to smooth out peaks and troughs of land supply, stabilising land values and delivering increased affordability.

The LDA is modelled on best European practice in Germany and the Netherlands. The agency will be a commercial state-sponsored body, acting within a clear government policy framework that all public land disposals must deliver at least 40 per cent of any housing potential on such lands in the form of social (10 per cent) and affordable (30 per cent) housing.

It will establish a national centre of expertise for state bodies and local authorities, using staff with expertise in project management finance, planning, development and procurement.

The body will be underpinned by dedicated legislation, overseen by an independent board and provided with both the initial and long-term capital to function on a commercial basis.

Housing and planning minister Eoghan Murphy signed the new agency into law this week by statutory instrument,

He said: “The consensus is that tackling boom-bust cycles of house prices depends on tackling similar cycles in land supply through state-driven active land management, and this is precisely what the LDA is about.

“The LDA will enable government to address traditional volatility in land prices because of land speculation as well as delays in delivering housing and strategic urban redevelopment generally because of delays in delivery due to disparate land ownership and cost allocation for infrastructure.

“Establishing the agency creates a powerful new driver of urban regeneration with the lands, skill sets and capital needed that will assure housing delivery, including the social, affordable and market housing so badly needed for our citizens.”

According to media reports, about 30 zones in Dublin and 10 in Cork will be designated as regeneration areas.

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