Wednesday 22 January 2020

Vulture funds holding a 'silent grip' on Fingal

Cllr Tony Murphy (NP)
Cllr Tony Murphy (NP)

'Vulture funds' and 'cuckoo funds' are holding a 'silent grip' on people in Fingal who are unable to afford to purchase a home, a local Independent councillor has claimed.

Speaking at a recent meeting of Balbriggan/Swords/Rush-Lusk Area Committee, Cllr Tony Murphy called for a condition in the Castlelands Masterplan for no more than 10% of housing units in Castlelands, Balbriggan to be categorised as 'Build to Rent.'

If consideration were given to affordable and social housing in Castlelands, Cllr Murphy said, there was a need to ensure that large 'vulture funds' did not acquire properties purely for the rental market.

The housing market was being 'dictated to' by vulture funds, Cllr Murphy said, which were holding a 'silent grip' on people who could not afford to buy a home.

Cllr Murphy said that the purpose of his motion was to ask the council if it was possible to 'configure a number' for owner-occupied housing within a housing development, and specifically in Castlelands.

Responding to Cllr Murphy, a council official said that, while he appreciated the councillor's views, his motion was 'probably premature in many ways', as a Chief Executive report had yet to be compiled on the Castlelands Masterplan.

The official pointed out that, under current planning law, 10% of housing had to be allocated to social housing, but there were 'legal issues' with regard to imposing any 'tenure mix scenarios.'

There was a development framework, he said, within the Castleands Masterplan to 'rely on' in terms of development, but this would have to wait until the Masterplan process 'moved ahead.'

The question of agreeing on a mix of housing was 'a tricky area', which was probably a national question, he added.

The official pointed out, however, that Castlelands was under control of the Housing Agency and the Land Development Agency, so that the council hoped to get the 'buy-in' to achieve what Cllr Murphy was looking for.

In terms of Cllr Murphy's motion, there was an opportunity for a further motion to be raised when the Castlelands Masterplan came before the council next month.

Thanking the official for his response, Cllr Murphy said it was 'a lot more positive' than he had anticipated.

A meeting of the council in January would be the 'opportunity' to 'configure' how people could compete against vulture funds, he said.

Fingal Independent