The proceeds of the local property tax, LPT, are largely used in the general provision and maintenance of infrastructure, services and amenities in a local authority area. Accordingly, residential property owners in estates not yet taken in charge benefit from the expenditure of these proceeds in the same way as the owners of other residential properties in the general locality in terms of the provision of public roads, footpaths, lighting, open spaces, surface water drainage and other public amenities. LPT is accordingly payable, regardless of whether or not an estate has been taken in charge.
Planning and development matters fall under the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. However, I am informed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government that under section 180 (1) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), a planning authority is obliged to initiate taking in charge procedures where requested by either the developer or by the majority of owners of the dwellings. However, this is subject to the development being completed to the satisfaction of the authority and in accordance with the permission and any conditions.
Section 180 provides that in relation to estates which have not have been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority and enforcement proceedings have not been commenced within the relevant period, the planning authority must, if requested to do so by the majority of the owners of the houses, initiate the procedures set out in section 11 of the Roads Act for the taking in charge of an estate.
I further understand that section 180 was amended in the Planning and Development Act (Amendment) 2010 to provide that a planning authority may take in charge an unfinished estate at any time after the expiration of the planning permission in situations where enforcement actions have failed or the planning authority has not taken enforcement action (for example, where it considered such action would be futile). Planning authorities are now specifically empowered to take in charge part of an estate, or some but not all of the facilities in an estate.
Under the amendments made to the 2000 Act by the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018, from 22 October 2018, section 180 of the 2000 Act also applies to Strategic Housing Developments, specifically to the houses and associated infrastructure in such developments. Other amendments made under the 2018 Act include that where such development has not been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority and enforcement proceedings have not been commenced by the planning authority within four years, beginning on the expiration of the appropriate period of the permission (or such period extended under section 42 of the 2000 Act, as amended), the authority shall, where requested by the majority of owners of the houses involved, comply with section 11 of the Roads Act, 1993, but the authority shall disregard the financial implications of doing so.
The authority may at its absolute discretion, at any time after the expiration as respects the permission authorising the development of the appropriate period, or if the authority considers that enforcement proceedings would be futile, where requested by a majority of the owners of the houses in question, initiate the procedures under section 11 of the Roads Act 1993.