Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (395)

Bernard Durkan


395. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government notwithstanding the recent comments by a senior representative of An Bord Pleanála promoting the concept of high density duplex accommodation as a means of resolving the housing crisis, if cognisance is being taken of the abject failure of such policies in the course of the past 15 years both from a social and economic perspective; if urgent reappraisal of the housing situation will be organised with a view to providing good quality affordable housing as required in various locations throughout the country in order to meet the housing needs now presenting, such accommodation to be of a quality conducive to good social and economic criteria thereby addressing the social and economic needs of future generations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24491/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

On 14 May 2014, the Government published Construction 2020 – A Strategy for a Renewed Construction Strategy. Construction 2020 acknowledged that while across Ireland effective planning has been at the heart of rejuvenation of cities and towns and the creation of investment and job opportunities, there is also a legacy from some poor past decision making, reflecting an absence of good planning and strategic thinking which has served Ireland and its citizens badly.

Construction 2020 contains 75 Actions in total and my Department, together with the Housing Agency, will be involved in the delivery of over 30 of these Actions. These include the publication of a Policy Statement on Planning, and the progression of new planning legislation to implement the recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal and to establish an Independent Planning Regulator, as well as providing the necessary legal framework for planning related actions in Construction 2020. The Review of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, which deals with affordable housing, will be completed shortly and any legislative changes required as a consequence of this Review will be incorporated into the new Planning Bill.

As regards the issue of housing densities, Construction 2020 provides that, where appropriate and in line with sustainable development into the future, flexibility around overall densities will be considered as part of a “kick start” initiative for prime development areas where extensive infrastructure development has taken place. Under Action 8 of Construction 2020, a Social Housing Strategy is to be published by Q3 2014. To assist in the development of the Social Housing Strategy, the Housing Agency has invited submissions by 31 July 2014; Further information is available at the following weblink: http://www.housing.ie/News/Current-News/Invitation-for-Submissions-Preparation-of-a-Social.aspx.