Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Ceisteanna (676)

Maureen O'Sullivan


676. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he has visited the North Lotts strategic development zone, SDZ, area to observe the impact that major large-scale developments are having on long-established residential properties in the area; the way in which he can address the lack of affordability of new builds in the SDZ, which is effectively pricing long-established communities out of the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51706/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In the Dublin Docklands, the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock area has been designated as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), for which Dublin City Council is implementing the associated Planning Scheme. Accordingly, it is a matter for the Council to manage large-scale developments in the area in accordance with the approved SDZ Planning Scheme. Notwithstanding this, I am aware that significant residential development has been and continues to be undertaken, pursuant to the implementation of the Planning Scheme.

More generally in the Dublin Docklands area, the Poolbeg West SDZ Planning Scheme will deliver up to 3,500 homes in close proximity to Dublin City Centre. To improve access to this strategically important site, €15.75 million of Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) funding has already been allocated by my Department. In particular, it should be noted that the Planning Scheme requires the delivery of 15% of homes for social and affordable housing purposes, which is in addition to the statutory 10% requirement. I understand that NAMA is currently procuring a development partner for the wider site.

LIHAF is a key element of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan. The objective of the Fund is to provide public off-site infrastructure to relieve critical infrastructure blockages. This will enable the accelerated delivery of housing on key development sites in Dublin and in urban areas of high demand for housing. The LIHAF supports the delivery of up to 20,000 homes, 40% of which will be delivered through an affordable or cost reduced schemes.

The question of affordability is a broader issue and does not arise by virtue of an SDZ designation. To address this, my Department is focusing on continued increases in overall supply, with a mix of house types and tenure to meet the local demand, supplemented by specific targeted measures to enhance the delivery of social and affordable housing for those who cannot afford to purchase or rent at market prices. The Government is taking a multi-stranded approach in this regard.

The combination of investment, access to finance, fast track planning and changes to apartment and height guidance has resulted in significant increases in housing supply. Social housing output next year will be the highest at any time this century.

Affordable housing output will steadily increase, with the commencement of the relevant provisions of Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 last year, to provide a statutory basis for affordable housing for purchase. The new Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan introduced in February 2018, has seen a drawdown of 1,253 loans, with a further 979 loans awaiting drawdown and the total scheme funding has reached €563 million.

Also in relation to affordability, €310 million has been made available from 2019 until 2021 under the Serviced Site Fund (SSF). The SSF was established to provide key infrastructure, on public lands, to support the delivery of affordable homes to purchase or rent. At a maximum funding rate of €50,000 per affordable home, at least 6,200 homes will be facilitated in total for affordable purchase or cost rental.

The Help to Buy (HTB) scheme is designed to assist first-time buyers with the deposit required to purchase or self-build a new house or apartment to live in as their home. To date, 15,957 Help to Buy claims have been made, of which 15,255 are approved. The estimated total value of the approved HTB claims to date is in the order of €226.3 million.

The Land Development Agency (LDA), which was established by the Government in support of Project Ireland 2040, is advancing a number of projects on State lands, with a minimum requirement of 40% of the housing to be provided as affordable housing in addition to Part V affordable housing.

I am satisfied that real progress is being made and through the measures outlined, the overall supply of housing is increasing, with a particular emphasis being placed on affordable housing.