Tuesday 16 January 2018

Wexford County Council drawing up vacant sites register

David Tucker

Wexford County Council is developing a register of vacant sites that are suitable for housing and urban regeneration throughout the county, however, no entries have so far been made in it.

The creation of the register is required under Urban Regeneration and Housing 2015 to identify undeveloped plots of land greater than 0.5 hectares that are suitable for development.

In a bid to free up for sites for much-needed housing, those on the register for more than 12 months will be subject to a levy of around three per cent of the sites' market values from 2019.

A spokesman for Wexford County Council said the process of entering a site in the Vacant Sites Register is a highly rigorous and complex procedure.

'The relevant enabling legislation sets out very detailed definitions regarding vacant sites and the council is mindful of the need to carefully analyse all candidate sites in the context of these definitions so as to ensure that each site falls fully within the statutory definitions, before we progress any entry.

'The legislation also provides the candidate site owner with an appeal procedure.

'The local authority is required to give notice to the site owner of our intention to enter their site in the register,' said the council spokesman.

He said site owners have up to 28 days to appeal the intention of the local authority to enter their site in the register and such an appeal must be considered in detail before an entry is made. If necessary, they can then appeal a decision to An Bord Pleanala.

Edward McCauley from the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI) said his organisation supports anythintg that brings new housing supply to the market.

'The SCSI would be supportive of the vacant sites levy in principle so long as it brings that zoned and serviced land to some sort of use for the benefit of society,' he said.

Gorey Guardian

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