asked the Minister for Local Government if any recommendations on land acquisition for the purposes of the Housing Acts were received in his Department subsequent to 12th April, 1965, from a housing authority (details supplied); and, if so, the nature of the recommendations and the extent to which he proposes to implement them.
Written Answers. - Acquisition of Housing Land.
The following recommendations on land acquisition were received from the housing authority in question, namely, that the Housing and Local Government codes be extended as follows:
(1) power be given to acquire an estate or area of land by private treaty or auction, notwithstanding that the council may not require all the property concerned for the purposes of the council's powers and duties in the foreseeable future;
(2) a legal presumption be created that the council has a statutory need of land wherever the council has less than five vacant building sites in any town having a population exceeding 500;
(3) power be given to include in a compulsory purchase order
(a) the site(s) recommended on engineering and planning grounds;
(b) second preference site(s) recommended in (a);
(c) sites recommended by resolution of the council;
(4) power be given to restrict building in any area until the council's needs have been satisfied;
(5) the council be obliged to declare every year (in respect of each district):
(a) the number of houses (and sites for private houses) required immediately;
(b) the estimated demand for houses (and sites for private houses) in the ensuring period of five years;
(c) a declaration under (a) or (b) to have the effect of determining the council's need for the purpose of compulsory acquisition proceedings.
Recommendation (1) was fully debated in the Committee Stage debates on the Housing Bill, 1965, on 11th and 17th November, 1965 (see cols. 1794 and 1960 of the Dáil Debates for those days). As I indicated there, I consider that the existing powers of local authorities are adequate.
I am not satisfied as to the need to incorporate recommendations (2), (3) and (4) in the Bill.
Sections 53 and 55 of the Bill, dealing with the assessment of needs and the preparation of building programmes, will require housing authorities to have regard to the factors mentioned in recommendation (5). Under section 76, a housing authority may be authorised to acquire land compulsorily in advance of needs if the Minister is satisfied that there is a reasonable expectation that the land will be required to attain any of the objectives of a building programme, including the objective mentioned in recommendation (5).