Thursday, 5 July 2012

Questions (111)

Éamon Ó Cuív


111 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if it is intended to introduce legislation to force the developers or owners including receivers and liquidators to complete all unfinished houses in such estates or demolish them within a fixed time frame, in view of the anti-social behaviour these house attract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32896/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The issues faced by residents of unfinished housing developments are matters which my Department has been proactively addressing. I am chairing the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments to oversee implementation of the Report of the Advisory Group on Unfinished Housing Developments, together with the Government's response to its recommendations. The Committee includes representatives from the Irish Banking Federation, local authorities, the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, NAMA, residents and the construction sector, and real progress is being made with regard to the public safety works required to improve the living conditions of existing residents on some unfinished estates. The Committee is meeting on a regular basis and intends to publish a report on overall progress in its first year of operation today.

The work of this Committee includes consideration of the long-term fate of empty or part-completed housing units. In this regard, I am satisfied that the powers available to local authorities are sufficient to enable them to ensure that necessary actions are carried through.

There has been limited demolition of unfinished developments. Notwithstanding this, my Department is aware that debtors and financial institutions, including NAMA, are considering the best long term solutions for their sites and in some cases this may include the removal of partially constructed or vacant buildings. This is a matter for those developers, receivers and financial institutions.

Also, work on the National Housing Development Survey 2012 is currently under way and in this context local authorities are re-examining all unfinished developments in their areas. The findings of this survey, which I expect to have published this autumn, will inform future decisions on the nature and scale of works to be carried out on individual developments by those responsible for their completion.