State's Digital Hub faces fine after vacant Dublin site row
A prime Dublin city centre development site controlled by the State-owned Digital Hub Development Agency has been confirmed as being vacant by An Bord Pleanála.
The board's decision will likely cost the agency hundreds of thousands of euro in levies a year.
The site is in the heart of old Dublin, with the Guinness brewing complex located nearby. It includes a large, two-storey industrial building that has fallen into disuse.
Dublin City Council notified the Digital Hub Development Agency in May last year that the site would stand on the vacant site register and attract the relevant levies.
Under the 2015 Urban Regeneration and Housing Act, all planning authorities are required to establish and maintain a vacant sites register.
A site can be entered on the register by a local authority if it deems that the site has been vacant or idle for at least the preceding 12 months.
The sites must more than 0.05 hectares in area, and be zoned for either residential or regeneration purposes.
Vacant or idle sites on the register attract a levy of 3pc of the market value of the site. The levy is set to jump to 7pc from 2020.
The site owned by the Digital Hub Development Agency is worth millions of euro and has been the subject of previous planning applications.
The Digital Hub Development Agency has appealed to An Bord Pleanála against the site's inclusion on the vacant site register.
The agency argued that it had received notice from Dublin City Council on June 1 last year that the site would be included on the vacant sites register.
The agency claimed that under the terms of the relevant Act, the notice should have been received before June 1.
However, the legislation had been amended so that the deadline for informing site owners of a site's inclusion on the register was extended to November 1.
An Bord Pleanála rejected the State agency's appeal, and said that the site should remain on the register.