News Politics

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Sites lie idle while cities suffer lack of family homes

Paul Melia, Environment Correspondent

Published 31/03/2014 | 02:30

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Family homes are in demand
Family homes are in demand

Hundreds of city-centre sites are lying idle and could be used to build new homes for families in Dublin, Galway and Cork.

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As many as 1,000 properties could be built in one area of the capital alone, a report from Dublin City Council says, adding that some 62 hectares of land have been identified as 'vacant'.

The report comes as the Government considers introducing a levy on vacant sites to speed up construction of homes, which are in short supply in our major cities.

There is a lack of high-quality homes available for families hoping to upgrade to larger properties, and the Government is expected to announce changes to the planning system next month to improve the number of homes becoming available for sale.

The report on 'Brownfield Initiatives, Vacant Land/Buildings, Dilapidated Buildings' produced by a Dublin City Council steering group says that 174 sites have been identified in the city that have "no evidence" of a permanent use. The sites are across 34 hectares and are located across the city centre.

In addition, another 95 vacant lands with buildings have been identified, and a further 43 vacant buildings.

In all, the sites are across 62 hectares. Between 50 and 75 houses can be constructed on one hectare of land, suggesting more than 4,500 homes could be built.

Some 2.4 hectares alone are located along the Red Luas line between O'Connell Street and Heuston Station, which could provide 1,000 "generous-sized" homes, it says.

It adds that the 312 sites occupy 4pc of the entire zoned land bank in the inner city.

Introduction of a vacant land levy would make the property market "operate more effectively", it says.

Separate figures from Cork City Council show that 28 derelict sites are located across the city, most in the city centre but also in outlying areas including Grand Parade, Blackpool, Douglas and Shandon.

DERELICT

In Galway, the council says 16 properties are on its derelict sites register.

Discussions are under way between council officials and the owners of some 120 sites to address the dereliction, a spokesman said.

Owners of derelict sites must pay an annual levy to the local authority. Levies are outstanding in relation to five sites in Galway.

However, separate figures show that Dublin City Council is owed €1.4m in unpaid levies, some dating back to 2005.

The largest sum of €212,850 is owed by the owner of 7 Adelaide Road in the city over a four-year period, according to figures released to Fine Gael Councillor Naoise O Muiri.

Mr O Muiri said the owners of the sites should not be granted planning permission for new homes until the debts were cleared.

Irish Independent

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