Tuesday 21 May 2019

Revealed: How many houses each local authority has been tasked to build in 2018

Building targets for each local authority have been set. Stock Image: Bloomberg
Building targets for each local authority have been set. Stock Image: Bloomberg

Paul Melia and Payu Tiwari

Local authorities have been given a target number of houses to build in 2018 as a part of the ongoing process to increase social housing in the country.

In a status report published by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, target counts have been issued to 31 local authorities.

Dublin City has the largest target, with the Minister asking that 1,045 units be built this year. Offaly has the lowest, with 19.

The total build target for the entire country is 4,969, but if you add in acquisitions and leasing by the local authorities to boost their stock, the country-wide target is 25,941.

The build target for each local authority is as follows:

Carlow 115

Cavan 41

Clare 29

Cork City 249

Cork County 235

Donegal 108

Dublin City 1045

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown 183

Fingal 408

Galway City 96

Galway County 64

Kerry 140

Kildare 217

Kilkenny 98

Laois 58

Leitrim 23

Limerick 153

Longford 44

Louth 225

Mayo 69

Meath 269

Monaghan 46

Offaly 19

Roscommon 41

Sligo 34

South Dublin 397

Tipperary 50

Waterford 165

Westmeath 38

Wexford 158

Wicklow 156

The report states the goal is to reach the national target of 50,000 homes under Rebuilding Ireland, and the Government has already committed €6 billion to accelerate its delivery. Schemes like Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Schemes are expected to decrease the load, with 18,000 households targeted for support under these schemes in 2018.

Speaking about the outcomes of the second housing summit of 2017,  the Minister said the commitment was to drive transparency and accountability at local authority level. “I called upon each local authority to provide a detailed delivery report, which would be used to assess perspective delivery in 2018 and also across the period out to 2021,” he said.

The figures also revealed that local authorities and other public bodies have built just 2,500 of the 13,400 social homes needed to help ease the housing and homelessness crisis.

Only a handful of units have been constructed in many local authority areas, with thousands mired in the planning and approvals process for up to three years, the Irish Independent has learned. None has been built in Wicklow and Laois.

An analysis of official returns also shows that some units received the first of four required approvals from the Department of Housing as far back as 2013, but have yet to progress to the planning or construction stage.

The figures come after it emerged that buyers are being forced to queue for up to a week to buy a new property, and after the Government effectively admitted that delivery of ‘affordable’ homes costing between €240,000 and €320,000 was difficult to achieve.

Data on the social housing construction programme from the Department of Housing, published late last night, shows delivery is slow, with some local authorities having just a handful of units under construction.

Overall, 31 local authorities and approved housing bodies (AHBs) have been tasked with building 13,400 social homes across all counties.

To date, 2,512 are complete. Another 3,650 are under construction – a fall of 10 compared with three months previously – while the remainder are either awaiting final approval from the Department of Housing, being designed, tendered or taken through the planning process.

An examination of the Social Housing Status report published in January suggests major problems with delivering units.

It showed:

Some 12,238 homes were to be delivered. In January, 1,460 were complete and 3,660 under construction;

No units were built in Offaly, Wicklow, Leitrim and Laois. Fewer than 10 homes were built to date in Westmeath, Clare, Sligo and Roscommon;

Local authorities were tasked with building 7,277 homes. 629 were complete, 1,958 were under construction and the remainder are in planning;

No local authority direct-build homes had been built in eight of the 31 councils. They were Clare, Offaly, Galway, Wicklow, Kildare, Leitrim, Galway City and Laois;

Fewer than 10 had been delivered in Tipperary, Westmeath, Kerry, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon and Cavan;

AHBs were charged with delivering 4,961 units. Some 831 were complete, and 1,702 under construction.

All social housing projects must go through a four-stage approval process before construction works can begin, with stage one considered to be a high-level appraisal of the project, where the business case is examined prior to approval in principle of funding.

Some 2,792 units were at stage one, some since 2013. Some 357 had progressed through all four stages, but work had yet to begin. Some 21 of the 31 local authorities had delivered less than 10pc of their housing programmes. The best-performing was Longford with 16 of 37 homes built (43pc), followed by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown (60 of 240, or 25pc).

The Department of Housing said the latest status update on the social housing programme showed “significant increased activity”, but admitted that delays were occurring.

“It is acknowledged that build activity in certain local authority areas has been slower than others to intensify, but that is not to say social housing delivery in those areas has not been progressing,” it said, adding the social housing programme included new build but also delivery under Part V, acquisitions, leasing and other schemes including HAP.

In some cases, AHB projects were not progressing due to “market conditions and negotiations with private developers”.

“At this time, the department is satisfied that appropriate arrangements are in place to deliver much-needed social and affordable homes,” it added.

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