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Second reading for flagship Urban Regeneration & Housing Bill

Words: Roger Milne

The government’s flagship Urban Regeneration & Housing Bill, which proposes changes to the affordable homes regime and introduces a vacant site levy scheme, had its second reading in the Dail this week and will now be considered by a parliamentary sub-committee.

Planning minister Paudie Coffey insisted that the legislation’s measures to reduce development contributions for affordable housing (part of the so-called Part V arrangements) would “remove disincentives to construction, thereby making developments more economically viable and helping to increase housing supply”.

The minister explained that originally the government had planned to remove all the statutory provisions relating to affordable housing from the statute book. But in a change of heart ministers are now proposing that the existing statutory provisions will be retained in the Planning Act so that when the current acute need for social housing has been met, “it may be possible to re-introduce the affordability aspect in the Part V arrangements when required”.

He argued that the vacant site levy would “incentivise the development of vacant underutilised lands for housing and for regeneration with a view to breathing life back into designated urban areas and addressing decay”.