The development of publicly owned residential lands for social and affordable housing is a priority for the Government. In this context, together with developing a significant build programme on their existing residential land bank, local authorities are also required to consider the availability of land for housing, particularly social and affordable housing, within their area of responsibility.
The local authority residential land bank has been mapped on the Rebuilding Ireland land map, and is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link:
The map includes details of over 700 local authority and Housing Agency sites amounting to some 1,700 hectares, circa 66 hectares of which is in the Louth County Council functional area. The map also includes some 30 sites (comprising circa 200 hectares) in the ownership of State or semi-State bodies. The map does not include other lands that may be owned by local authorities and earmarked for non-residential purposes.
In relation to the development of Louth County Council’s residential land bank, my Department is in regular contact with the local authority regarding the accelerated delivery of social and affordable homes. A detailed breakdown of the Louth County Council social housing construction programme is set out in the Social Housing Construction Status Report which is published on a quarterly basis. The report covering the period up to end Quarter 3 of 2018 is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-quarter-3-social-housing-construction-report/. The report covering to end Quarter 4 of 2018 will be published shortly. Further projects will continue to be added to the programme on an ongoing basis.
With regard to the delivery of affordable homes, the Government has provided €310 million, under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) in Budget 2019, for enabling infrastructure on local authority and Housing Agency lands to facilitate affordable housing delivery. The first call under the Fund issued to local authorities, including Louth County Council, in 2018 and while Louth did not make an application at that time, I expect to issue a further call in the coming weeks, and Louth County Council will once again have the opportunity to submit applications, as appropriate. In addition, a site at Mount Avenue, Dundalk, has been approved under the Local infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) for funding of €3.3 million for an access road, which will support 200 homes initially and potentially up to 1,200 on wider lands.
Finally, the Land Development Agency acts as a national centre of expertise in relation to the use of public lands as catalysts to stimulate regeneration and wider investment and to achieve compact, sustainable growth. It has a particular focus on securing land for social and affordable housing purposes and will be aiming to work with and support local authorities and other public bodies in this regard.