Urban Regeneration and Development Fund

Question No. 172 answered with Question No. 168.

Ceisteanna (171)

John Deasy

Ceist:

171. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the projects applied for under the urban regeneration and development fund by the 28 September 2018 deadline; and the bids which were categorised as either ready-to-go or category A or B, as per the submission criteria. [38955/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The National Planning Framework (NPF), launched in February 2018 as part of Project Ireland 2040, included a ten-year Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) with investment of €2bn available to 2027. In 2018, bids were invited from public bodies for funding support from the URDF. 193 applications were received as part of that first call. 82 of the applications were classed as category A, or projects ready to go in 2019. A further 111 applications were classed as category B, or projects that require further development in 2019 following which they can be considered for category A status.

On 26 November 2018, I announced initial support for a total of 88 projects throughout the country under the first call for proposals. 43 of these projects are classed as category A, with the remaining 45 projects classed as category B.

Further details in respect of the 193 applications received and the 88 projects approved for URDF support are available on my Department's website at the following links:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/urban_regeneration_and_development_fund_2019_-_list_of_applications_received_1.pdf.

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/urdf_-_2019_funding_allocations_0.pdf.

Question No. 172 answered with Question No. 168.

Urban Regeneration and Development Fund

Ceisteanna (173)

John Deasy

Ceist:

173. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if public and private consortia applying under the urban regeneration and development fund are expected to progress a certain proportion of capital expenditure from their own resources before further phases of funding are sanctioned. [38957/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Project Ireland 2040 provided for the establishment of a €2 billion Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), focusing on cities and towns in excess of 10,000 in population, which will secure more compact, sustainable growth in Ireland’s five cities and other large urban centres.

The URDF is a competitive, bid-based programme that operates on a multi-annual basis over the period to 2027. Competitive bids are invited from public bodies, which may be in the form of a consortium and may also include private sector and/or community/voluntary sector representation. These bid proposals must be co-funded and require a minimum 25% stakeholder contribution or "matched funding" to be provided.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (174)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

174. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a regulation and commencement order was signed, as raised in correspondence from a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38958/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department is currently finalising the drafting of the necessary amendments to the exempted development provisions of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 and the ancillary Commencement Order for section 8 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 referred to in the details provided by the Deputy. I expect to be in a position to sign the Regulations and Order shortly.

My Department is actively engaging with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in relation to the associated amendments to the Forestry Regulations 2017, which need to be made by my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine,and which I understand are at an advanced stage.

Local Authority Housing

Question No. 176 answered with Question No. 169.

Ceisteanna (175)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

175. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if consideration will be given to facilitating dialogue between local authorities in Dublin regarding the possibility of an intercounty transfer system for tenants wishing to downsize from one Dublin local authority to another; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38970/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The oversight and management of housing waiting lists, including the allocation and transfer of tenancies, is a matter for the relevant local authority in accordance with the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, and associated regulations.

Section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, requires all local authorities, as a reserved function, to make an allocation scheme determining the order of priority to be accorded in the allocation of dwellings to households qualified for social housing support and to households approved for a transfer, the allocation of which would, in the opinion of the authority, meet the accommodation needs and requirements of the households.

A household may apply for support to one local authority only, which may be the authority for the area in which the household normally resides or with which it has a local connection, or that the authority agrees, at its discretion, to assess the household for support.

It should be noted that a household meeting either the residence or local connection condition may specify up to three areas of choice for receipt of support in the areas of all local authorities in the county and city concerned and, if qualified, will be entered on the housing waiting list of each of those local authorities. Accordingly, under existing arrangements, a household that applies, for example, to Dublin City Council can, if qualified for support and should they choose to do so, be entered on the waiting list of three of the four local authorities in Dublin city and county.

All four Dublin authorities have provisions in their allocation schemes for inter authority/mutual transfers for sitting tenants whereby the authority is prepared to accommodate applications for inter authority/mutual transfers provided certain criteria are met. All four Dublin authorities also make provision in their allocation schemes for households wishing to move to a home more suitable to their household needs. However, decisions on all applications are entirely a matter for the local authority concerned.

Furthermore, a commitment has been given to examine the possibility of introducing a “housing passport”. The basic premise is that households in receipt of, or qualified for, social housing support in one local authority area could potentially transfer to, or be allocated, social housing in another local authority area. This will offer more flexibility and choice to social housing applicants and tenants on a national basis. I am currently finalising proposals in relation to this matter. It is my intention to bring forward any proposed changes needed to implement the housing passport proposal to Government as part of a comprehensive social housing reform package of measures in the near future. A key aim of the package will be to ensure that social housing supports are more responsive and flexible to the varying needs that exist at different stages of the life cycle of a social housing tenant. The issue raised by the Deputy in respect of tenants wishing to right-size clearly falls within this broader policy objective.

In the context of older people, my Department, in conjunction with the Department of Health, published a joint policy statement, Housing Options for our Ageing Population, on 27 February 2019, which builds on policy as outlined in Rebuilding Ireland and the National Planning Framework 2040. The statement sets out forty actions which the two Departments want to progress with a view to developing new models of housing and supports for older people. These include options in relation to rightsizing in both public and private housing. An independently chaired implementation group is working to drive progress on the actions and to ensure that there is an integrated approach to their development over the timescales set out in the statement.

Question No. 176 answered with Question No. 169.

Housing Assistance Payment Eligibility

Ceisteanna (177)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

177. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if all means from employment are assessed when calculating a HAP payment for a person in receipt of a disability allowance and working; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39062/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is a flexible and immediate housing support that is available to all eligible households throughout the State.

All households in receipt of HAP pay a differential rent based on the rent scheme set by the relevant local authority. The right of local authorities to set and collect rents on their dwellings is laid down in section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. The making or amending of such schemes is an executive function and is subject to broad principles laid down by my Department including that –

- the rent payable should be related to income and a smaller proportion of income should be required from low income households;

- provision should be included for the acceptance of a lower rent than that required under the terms of the scheme in exceptional cases where payment of the normal rent would give rise to hardship; and

- appropriate local factors should be taken into account including the costs of the maintenance and management of the stock of rented dwellings and the adequacy of the rental income to meet such costs.

Each local authority has its own separate differential rent scheme or schemes in operation. As rent is calculated using each local authority’s own formula, the schemes do vary in a number of ways from each other. This is particularly the case when it comes to what may or may not be considered as reckonable/assessable income for rent purposes e.g., disability allowance and carer's allowance. However, all local authority rent schemes would include the employment income of the tenant and most would do so based on net income, that is income net of income tax, Universal Social Charge and PRSI.

Section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides for the Minister to introduce a national rents framework for social housing tenants. Considerable work has been carried out by my Department in developing a draft of such a framework, which has as its main aim the harmonisation of local authority rents, including a set of standardised income disregards, whilst retaining the general principle of rents related to household income.

This work is now being examined further in the light of the broader commitment given in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, to review the disparate systems of differential rent for social housing in place across local authorities. The overall objective is to ensure that housing supports are fair and sustainable and prioritise those on lowest incomes. I expect that the review will be completed in the near future.

National Monuments

Ceisteanna (178)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

178. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of works to enhance the Hill of Tara complex. [38920/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Hill of Tara is one of Ireland’s premier national monuments and is of international prominence and importance. In recent years, it has been subject to extensive research by the Discovery Programme, funded by my Department, through which our knowledge and understanding of the site has been greatly increased.

Against a background of high visitor footfall, my Department has been developing a conservation management plan for the state-owned lands at the Hill and is leading a working group of relevant stakeholders, including the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for day to day management, the Heritage Council and the Discovery Programme. This work has been undertaken with the objective of securing consensus among stakeholders and progressing, completing and publishing an updated Management Plan.

The preparation of the Plan has included a monument condition survey to inform the conservation needs of the monuments on the State-owned lands. An online visitor survey, as well as a visitor profile, was also undertaken by the Dublin Institute of Technology at the request of the Discovery Programme and Heritage Council. My Department is now reviewing all relevant documentation with a view to bringing the draft Plan to completion as soon as possible.

The Plan will focus on conservation issues and will inform a list of priority conservation and site management actions and measures to be implemented over its lifetime. It will also guide future interventions on the site, aided by the ongoing monitoring of visitor numbers by the OPW. It will concentrate on the lands that are in the ownership of the State and as such, it will not, nor is it intended to, address land use and planning issues in the wider environs of Tara.

Parking and traffic management, as well as visitor facilities outside the area of the State-owned lands, are matters for the local authority although the Plan may inform related deliberations and actions. My Department is available to advise and assist the local authority with any such proposals from the point of view of protecting the archaeology and amenity of the Hill of Tara itself.