These amendments relate to Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000. During the Second Stage debate, I flagged that these amendments, whose purpose is to expand the use of Part V in accordance with the programme for Government commitment, would be added to the Bill, to include the provision of affordable housing on top of the protection of the 10% social housing, during its passage through the Dáil.
The changes we are making to Part V entail a number of amendments to sections 93 to 97, inclusive, of the 2000 Act. These have all been included in a new Part 6 within the Bill, with a separate section in the Affordable Housing Bill for each of those sections in the planning Act 2000. Consequently, the three Part V amendments already included in section 26 of the published Bill have been moved to the new Part 6, and what was section 26, has been deleted.
The effect of the substantive amendments to sections 93 to 97, inclusive, of the 2000 Act will be to implement the programme for Government commitment in relation to expanding Part V to encompass affordable purchase and cost-rental units, and introducing affordable homes requirements to Part V.
It is particularly pleasing for me. I was involved in the negotiations and putting together the programme for Government. It is pleasing that in respect of housing, we are seeing a lot of what we said we would do as a Government in the programme for Government coming to fruition. I particularly want to thank my own team within the Department and also the Attorney General and his staff for their work on it.
The provisions amend the Part V requirement to a mandatory 20% in all cases, for social and affordable requirements. Colleagues will recall that that was changed a number of years ago. They were different times and such a change was fine then. Now it is time to change it back and ensure that we are protecting the 10% social housing and adding the 10% affordable housing. The provisions remove the link to a specified percentage need in the housing strategy reflected in the development plan objectives, require a minimum social housing contribution of 10% and include cost rental housing within the housing need for estimation in the housing strategy and for provision using the Part V requirement in appropriate cases. That means that the 10% social housing in private can be varied. That can be done, but within that, cost-rental and affordable purchase housing can also be provided. The provisions also apply a transitional five-year provision for land purchased between 1 September 2015 and 31 July 2021, during which time the requirement will continue to be at 10% with all to be applied to social housing provision and revert back to an exempted development size of fewer than five dwellings from the current figure of fewer than 10. The provisions apply the Part V contribution to developments granted planning permission on land not zoned residential as a material contravention of the development plan and provide for the estimation of social, affordable and cost rental need breakdown by the chief executive during the period until the next housing strategy subsequent to the changes being made. It is significant that within the housing need demands assessment, the local authorities will provide an estimation of the social, affordable and, indeed, cost-rental housing need. In addition, the opportunity was also taken to make some technical amendments to Part V that apply the site purchase and lease options and the house purchase price calculation provisions to approved housing bodies as well as to local authorities, remove the unnecessary eight-week time limit on the ability to refer disputes to arbitration, update some references to subsequently amended statutory provisions and correct an anomaly in the exemption certificate provision.
The main effect of the changes is that a mandatory 20% Part V requirement focuses on capturing the full amount of the planning gain for the State on every applicable site, in every local authority area, by breaking the link between the Part V requirement on each site and the social and affordable requirements of the local authority, as set out in its housing strategy. Under these changes to Part V, if a local authority does not require 20% of properties in a permitted development for social or affordable housing, it can take the lower number of properties it does require and apply the balance of the equivalent net monetary value as a discount on the cost of those units. That is a significant change. In the very unlikely event of a planning permission for a housing development at a location where there is no requirement for any type of social, affordable purchase or cost rental housing, the Part V requirement can be satisfied by a transfer of land or the transfer of houses elsewhere in the local authority area. If the former is the case, the local authority can use the land for another of its functions or sell it on the open market and apply the proceeds to its housing functions. If the latter is the case, the cost of the acquisition of units elsewhere in the area will be reduced by the net monetary value of 20% of the land. In this way, once these changes take effect, the State will capture 20% of the planning gain from every applicable housing development. That is a very significant change.