Written Answers. - Planning and Development Act.

Bernard Allen


418 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the way in which Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, is being implemented; and if he will outline situations where developments have been undertaken where a specified percentage of residential development of land or houses has been allocated for social and affordable housing. [7678/01]

As I indicated in reply to Question No. 27 of 22 February 2001, Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, was commenced with effect from 1 November last. In accordance with section 94 of the Act, planning authorities have until the end of July this year to prepare their housing strategies and a further three months thereafter to vary their development plans to incorporate their housing strategies. Planning authorities have been urged to complete this process as soon as possible so that they can operate the social and affordable housing provisions at the earliest date.

Guidelines for planning authorities on the preparation of housing strategies along with a model housing strategy were issued by my Department last December and regional seminars were held in January. Each housing strategy must identify the overall need for housing within the area covered by the strategy, including the need for social and affordable housing. Planning authorities will be able to reserve up to 20% of land zoned in the development plan for residential use, or for a mix of residential and other uses, to meet the identified needs for social and affordable housing. The percentage of land to be reserved can be made available to the planning authority at existing use value. The housing strategy should also provide for an appropriate mix of dwelling types and sizes to cater for the range of housing needs identified including, for example, first time buyers, the elderly and special needs housing. The provisions of Part V relating to the reservation of residentially zoned land for social and affordable housing will only apply to planning permissions granted after a planning authority incorporates their housing strategy into the development plan.

Prior to the commencement of Part V a number of local authorities had already included in their development plans objectives to secure a specified percentage in all new residential developments for social housing. For example, I understand that Fingal County Council has reached agreements with a number of developers as a result of this for the provision of social and affordable housing units. I am also aware that some local authorities have entered into arrangements with developers for the development of lands in the ownership of the local authorities for a mix of private, social and affordable housing. In this regard, Fingal County Council has recently awarded a contract for the development of a 40 acre site in their ownership for about 700 units of private, social and affordable housing. This type of approach is also being used by Dublin Corporation in Cherry Orchard.