Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2990)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

2990. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the affordable housing scheme; the targets for affordable rentals and homes within the Dublin 8 and 12 divisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34585/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In June 2018, I commenced Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, which now places affordable housing on a statutory basis. The selection of particular local authority lands for development of homes that will be made available under the Affordable Purchase Scheme is, in the first instance, a matter for the relevant local authority.

One of the mechanisms available to local authorities to help them deliver affordable housing options is the Serviced Site Fund (SSF). Under the SSF, €310 million is being made available over a three year period, from 2019 to 2021, to support the delivery of infrastructure on local authority sites, which will in turn help provide for the delivery of over 6,000 affordable homes to buy or rent.

The first call for proposals under the SSF in June 2018 aimed to provide funding opportunities to 11 local authorities where it was identified that the greatest affordability pressures exist. This included all of the Dublin local authorities. I issued approval in principle in December 2018 for funding for 10 infrastructure projects in Dublin and Cork with €43 million funding, which will support the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes. Details of these projects are set out in the Table below.

List of projects approved under 1st SSF call

LA

Project/Location

Total Provisional Cost of Proposal

Provisional Exchequer Grant Amount

Provisional LA Contribution

AffordableHousing Potential

Cork Co

Glanmire

€1,500,000

€1,335,000

€165,000

20

Cork City

Boherboy Road

€4,968,366

€4,421,846

€546,520

103

Cork City

Kilmore Road, Churchfield

€1,410,551

€1,255,390

€155,160

21

Dub City

Cherry Orchard

€7,645,415

€6,804,419

€840,996

183

Dub City

Balbutcher, Ballymun

€4,135,351

€3,680,462

€454,889

74

Dub City

Sillogue, Ballymun

€3,975,000

€3,537,750

€437,250

83

DLR

Enniskerry Road

€4,537,576

€4,038,443

€499,133

50

Fingal

Church Fields, Mulhuddart

€11,000,000

€9,790,000

€1,210,000

753

Fingal

Dun Emer, Lusk

€1,500,000

€1,335,000

€165,000

74

Fingal

Hackettstown, Skerries

€2,198,667

€1,956,814

€241,853

49

Total

€42,870,926

€38,155,124

€4,715,801

1,410

The overall cost and timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible.

Following the first call under the SSF, and in order to target affordable interventions, local authorities were asked to complete financial/economic assessments of each of their sites to assess whether the provision of affordable homes is economically viable. Local authorities were also asked to assess the broader housing affordability within their area.

A second call for proposals under the SSF issued to 19 local authorities based on the aforementioned economic assessments. The closing date for submissions was 17 May 2019 and 31 submissions were received from 15 local authorities, including those in Dublin. These are currently being assessed by my Department and I intend to issue approvals under this second call in the coming weeks.

As part of the provision of affordable housing, a new Cost Rental initiative is being developed, under which the rents charged are limited to covering the cost of delivering, managing and maintaining the homes. It aims to offer moderate-income households the choice of a more affordable and stable form of rental tenure. A Cost Rental Working Group has been convened to develop an overall national policy and approach to delivery. The European Investment Bank has been engaged on a research project to support the Department in its work and help identify the optimum operational and financial model for Cost Rental in Ireland. In addition, the Department is co-ordinating with a number of bodies to progress Cost Rental delivery, including the Land Development Agency (LDA), which is examining the potential to deliver Cost Rental homes at scale from its land portfolio and the broader State land bank.

There are currently two cost rental ‘pathfinder’ pilot projects; one of which is the Dublin City Council-owned site at St. Michael’s Estate, Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8. It is estimated that this site can accommodate approximately 470 homes in a high quality mixed-tenure development. The current tenure mix proposed is 70% cost rental and 30% social homes. Dublin City Council have advised me that the Urban Design Framework Plan for this site is currently at a very advanced stage. Once this is finalised, the Council will submit their Stage 1 application for approval. Following this, an integrated design team will be procured. The second 'pathfinder' project is located at Enniskerry Road, in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown; this will provide 50 cost rental homes in an overall project of over 150 homes, which recently commenced construction.

These schemes will complement other key Government affordability initiatives, such as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have supported some 13,000 households.