The need for more active land management by the State has been articulated in many policy documents, including report No.145 of the National Economic and Social Council which stated that Project Ireland 2040: the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the National Development Plan (NDP) provided the perfect moment to transition to a new system of urban development and land management. This is crucial in ensuring that future developments are planning led rather than developer led.
The Land Development Agency (LDA) is being established in this context with an immediate focus on managing the State’s own lands to develop new homes, and regenerate under-utilised sites. In the longer-term, it will assemble strategic land-banks from a mix of public and private lands, making these available for housing in a controlled manner, bringing essential long-term stability to the Irish housing market.
The LDA is the State's developer. The proposed primary legislation will establish the LDA as a commercial State body with the capacity and mandate to fulfil this important public purpose. The shareholders will be the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and myself. The LDA cannot be privatised as the proposed legislation will provide that the shareholding in the LDA can only be held by a Government Minister or a body under their aegis.
In parallel, the Government agreed that new requirements will attach to the disposal of surplus State lands, in that , where appropriate, a minimum of 30% of residential units should be affordable housing, in addition to statutory requirements under Part V of the Planning and Development Acts. This is a matter of Government policy, which applies to public lands provided to the LDA. The LDA will be accountable to the Government for the delivery of such housing in line with its mandate.