Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (463)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

473 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will list the 211 ghost estates where restoration work has been completed; if he will list the 523 estates where restoration plans are in place or where work has already commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35000/12]

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

I am chairing the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments (NCC) to oversee implementation of the Report of the Advisory Group on Unfinished Housing Developments, together with the Government's response to the recommendations. The NCC includes representatives from the Irish Banking Federation, local authorities, the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, NAMA 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.

As part of the work of the NCC, my Department initiated a pilot project for the resolution of sites using the Site Resolution Plan (SRP) process, and issued a working template in order to establish best practice in this area. I intend that the process, which is pivotal to the resolution of problem sites, will be used more extensively in the coming year. Ultimately, the initiation of the SRP process in respect of a particular development is a matter for the local authority concerned. However, progress by local authorities in ensuring that developers complete and/or resolve unfinished housing developments is continuing, by means of quarterly status reports to the NCC.

SRPs are a key tool in resolving issues associated with unfinished housing developments. Such plans enable developers to work with local authorities, financial institutions, NAMA and residents in determining how best to pursue resolution of problematic sites. The process also entails working with stakeholders in identifying the best long-term solution for developments in terms of their configuration, use of vacant buildings and ownership. Such solutions should also take account of the best interests of residents.The first Annual Progress Report of the NCC, published by my Department on 5 July, confirmed that, through the use of the SRP process, 211 estates have now been completed and issues are now resolved. On a further 523 estates, plans are now in place and in many of these cases work has commenced and significant progress will be achieved over the coming months. I anticipate that this progress will be reflected in the 2012 National Housing Development Survey now underway. Details of individual Site Resolution Plans are kept by the individual local authorities concerned, and my Department does not collate information in this regard.

In addition, under the Public Safety Initiative, my Department has made allocations totalling some €3.21 million to 21 local authorities from the funding made available to address immediate public safety issues in 2011. The types of works that have been approved to date include the fencing off of unsecured and hazardous areas, capping of pipes, installation of street lighting and other works to secure sites.

A provision of €2m has been made for 2012 and my Department will be making further allocations as applications are received from local authorities and assessed. To date, a total of €1.726 million has been drawn down by local authorities.