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Glenveagh told to pay €350k levy over ‘vacant’ site

Builder claimed €5m site not suitable for housing

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Appeal: Glenveagh Homes CEO and founder Stephen Garvey

Appeal: Glenveagh Homes CEO and founder Stephen Garvey

Appeal: Glenveagh Homes CEO and founder Stephen Garvey

One of the country’s biggest house builders, Glenveagh Homes, must pay a vacant site levy of €350,000 concerning an undeveloped €5m land-holding in north Dublin.

An Bord Pleanála confirmed the €350,000 demand for the levy by Fingal County Council for the site north of Mulhuddart in the Tyrrelstown/Kilmartin area of Dublin 15.

Last February, Fingal County Council issued the demand to Glenveagh and the house-builder appealed that decision to An Bord Pleanála.

The €350,000 sum is the equivalent of 7pc of the site’s €5m valuation and can be levied on an annual basis until steps have been taken to develop the site.

The site – located close to Hollystown Golf Club – currently accommodates a construction compound and a large area of the site is closed off. In its appeal against the Council decision to place the site on the Vacant Site Register, Glenveagh told the appeals board that “the site was not and is not suitable for housing because of deficiencies in water services infrastructure, which have come to light since taking ownership”.

In their appeal, Glenveagh said that as part of preparations to lodge a Strategic Housing application, Irish Water (IW) confirmed that there is insufficient capacity in the wastewater network and upgrade is necessary.

Glenveagh, which is headed by Stephen Garvey, told the board that it continues to progress matters and has sought a Project Works Service Agreement (PWSA) with IW but has received no response to date.

“For the entire period of 2019, the lands have been constrained by infrastructural deficiencies and it follows that the site should never have been considered a vacant site,” said Glenveagh.

The builder told the appeals board that it is committed to the development of the site and the charge of a levy would only serve to add to the cost of housing provision.

However, the appeals board inspector in the case, Stephen Rhys Thomas, recommended that the €350,000 site levy be affirmed.

Mr Rhys Thomas said that Glenveagh has the wherewithal, and land in their ownership, to at least advance the process of engaging with the Board in respect of the Strategic Housing Development (SHD). He said that that any constraints to the development of the site are within the control of Glenveagh to address. There are no obstacles in place to prevent Glenveagh progressing the planning side of land development that could ultimately deliver homes that can be serviced by public infrastructure, he added.

In its formal order, the Board said that Glenveagh had put insufficient reason forward to cancel the site’s entry on the Vacant Site register.

The board made its decision after stating that there is a need for housing in the area and that the site is suitable for housing.

It also concluded that public infrastructure constraints on the site are within the control of Glenveagh to address.

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