Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Questions (125)

Anthony Lawlor

Question:

125. Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government how much land is owned by the Housing Finance Agency under the land aggregation scheme in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28733/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Land Aggregation Scheme was introduced in 2010 as part of revised arrangements for the funding of land for social housing purposes. Applications to the value of some €164 million in loans were accepted into the Land Aggregation Scheme. The figure of €164m includes €111m in respect of loans which were fully redeemed by local authorities with funding recouped from my Department, under the original terms of the scheme. The remaining €53m is in the form of annuity loans with the Housing Finance Agency for which local authorities are making repayments to the Housing Finance Agency, with these payments being recouped from my Department.

In 2013, as a consequence of continuing pressure on Exchequer resources, and following a review of the scheme carried out in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, it became evident that further expenditure on the Land Aggregation Scheme, in terms of accepting new applications into the scheme, was no longer a sustainable option. Local authorities were advised of the discontinuance of the Scheme in respect of new applications in December 2013. The focus of the Land Aggregation Scheme has now shifted to the management of the land accepted into the s cheme.

Five sites from Kildare County Council were approved for inclusion under the first iteration of the Land Aggregation Scheme. A condition of the scheme requires the transfer of the land to the Housing Agency. Contracts for four of the sites have been received from Kildare County Council by the Housing Agency. However, some outstanding queries have yet to be resolved before the transfer of the lands can be finalised. Discussions are on-going between the Housing Agency and Kildare County Council regarding the transfer of the remaining site.