Developers could avoid tax over vacant sites
Published 30/05/2015 | 02:30
Developers could escape the imposition of a vacant site tax for up to six years, meaning much-needed homes may be delayed on prime urban sites.
The Dáil Environment Committee has also recommended that the Government does not reduce an obligation on developers to provide up to 20pc of all homes in a new estate for social and affordable housing, due to the surge in house prices.
In a report on the Planning and Development (No 1) bill, the committee said that a number of weaknesses were evident.
It warned that "potential delays" existed in relation to the imposition of the vacant site tax, which is based on 3pc of the site's value, but which can rise to 6pc in certain cases.
As proposed, the levy can only be imposed if no planing application is submitted within three years of the site being identified as suitable for development, and if works do not being within three years of the permission being received.
The section in the bill appears to provide for a substantial delay, the report stated, and will have "no effect in the short to medium term".
Changes are required to "reduce the number of potential loopholes", and vacant sites owned by the State or public bodies should be included. Consideration should be given to exempting retirement housing .
The committee also warned about reducing the obligation on developers to provide 20pc of all new homes for social and affordable housing.