I have not received proposals from a local authority seeking funding for a pilot project scheme to purchase land to develop a planned town. Local authorities are being encouraged by my Department to acquire the land required to meet the social and affordable housing output targets identified in the national development plan and more particularly to meet the target of 22,000 housing starts in the multi-annual local authority housing programme for the period 2000-03.
The Housing Finance Agency assists local authorities with loan finance for housing land acquisition. The cost of any land acquisition used for the development of local authority housing, together with any holding charges incurred for up to five years, is funded by the housing capital allocations from my Department. Broadly similar arrangements apply in respect of the other social and affordable housing schemes.
Any development of green field sites for housing or of "new towns" should have regard to proper planning considerations. Strategic planning guidelines for the greater Dublin area were published in March 1999 and are currently being reviewed and updated. Similar studies are ongoing in the other major urban centres. These guidelines provide for a co-ordinated approach to land use, infrastructural provision and housing development.