Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (665, 666, 667)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

665. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there have been new affordable housing developments in County Kilkenny in the past ten years. [47574/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

666. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there are council-owned lands in County Kilkenny that could be identified as suitable for affordable housing. [47575/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

667. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to roll out affordable housing in County Kilkenny in the next two years; and the details of the plans. [47576/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 665 to 667, inclusive, together.

In line with the commitments in Rebuilding Ireland to support the delivery of discounted homes to buy or rent, this Government has allocated €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF), from 2019 to 2021, to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of some 6,200 affordable homes on local authority lands.  This funding is being made available in areas where local authorities have demonstrated a requirement for affordable housing and the viability to deliver such housing from their sites.

Local authority land utilisation and activation is, in the first instance, a matter for the local authority and its elected members including the development of its land for the delivery of affordable housing. Nevertheless, in order to target SSF funding interventions, in October 2018, local authorities were invited to undertake an economic assessment of their sites to assess whether the provision of affordable homes was necessary and economically viable.  As part of that assessment local authorities were also asked to consider the broader housing affordability within their area.  19 local authorities returned economic assessments, this included Kilkenny County Council, who carried out assessments on two of its sites around which it was indicated affordability issues existed.

To date, I have allocated SSF funding of €127 million, in support of 35 projects in 14 local authority areas, for infrastructure works that will see the delivery of almost 3,200 affordable homes.  Of these 35 approved projects, one is located in Kilkenny City and was identified in the Council’s economic assessment.  This site at Crokers Hill has received approval in principle for SSF funding of almost €2m for infrastructure that will support the delivery of 26 affordable homes.  The overall cost and the timing of delivery for this project is contingent upon the completion of design, planning and procurement of the project in the first instance, and Kilkenny County Council and my Department are working to achieve delivery from this and other sites as quickly as possible.

I anticipate that a further call for proposals under the SSF will issue to local authorities in 2020.

Homes delivered under the SSF are subject to the provisions of Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 which was commenced in June 2018.  This legislation now provides the statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase in the State. Regulations in respect of the making of Schemes of Priority were signed on 12 March 2019, and these were issued to local authorities on 22 March 2019.  The purpose of a Scheme of Priority is to set out the affordable purchase arrangements at local authority level.  This includes the methodology that will be applied by local authorities to determine the order of priority to be accorded to eligible households where the demand for such affordable dwellings exceeds the number available.  I can confirm that Kilkenny County Council submitted their Scheme of Priority to my Department on 24 April 2019 which I subsequently approved on 29 April 2019.

In line with the legal requirements of the Affordable Dwelling Purchase Arrangements, further regulations will be put in place over the coming months regarding eligibility and other matters. When the operational procedures for the scheme are finalised, and before dwellings are made available for purchase under the scheme, a programme of communication will be undertaken by my Department and local authorities.

In addition to SSF, funding of €200m has also been made available under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), which is also designed to activate housing supply by putting in place the enabling public infrastructure necessary to ensure that large scale development could take place on key sites in urban areas of high housing demand. 30 projects received final approval, at a total cost of €195.71 million, of which €146.69 million will be funded by the Exchequer with local authorities funding the balance.  These projects will stimulate development of approximately 20,000 housing units across 14 local authorities and approximately 7,800 of these homes will be offered at a discount on open market prices.  Kilkenny received approval for two projects; one in Western Environs and one in Ferrybank with a combined LIHAF funding of over €9m to deliver a total of 730 homes by 2021.  Infrastructure works commenced on 4th March 2019 in Western Environs and in Ferrybank on 1 October 2019. The Western Environs LIHAF site is expected to deliver 60 social housing units on the local authority site along with the delivery of 423 cost reduced homes on the private site, with planning for housing on this site due to be submitted shortly.

These schemes will complement other key Government affordability initiatives, such as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have supported over 15,000 households nationally.

Details of affordable delivery by local authority and year are available at my Department’s website at the following link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/affordable-housing/affordable-housing-and-part-v-statistics.