Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Ceisteanna (59, 84)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

59. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of work within his Department and local authorities for the provision of serviced sites, particularly in rural areas, to assist with the delivery of affordable housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51859/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

84. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the provision of affordable housing schemes nationwide and particularly in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51860/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 59 and 84 together.

Land utilisation and activation, including the development of land for the delivery of more affordable private housing, is, in the first instance, a matter for the relevant local authority and its elected members. Moreover, local authorities are required to frame the planning policies in their development plans in a balanced and measured way to ensure that long-term strategic housing needs are met across all types and tenures within their functional area. This applies to both urban and rural locations.

In line with the commitments in Rebuilding Ireland to support the delivery of homes to buy or rent at prices which are discounted on market values, the Government has allocated €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of some 6,200 more 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.

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 support the delivery of almost 3,200 affordable homes. This funding was awarded to local authorities on a competitive basis.

One of these projects includes a bid from Kildare County Council for the development of a site at Ardclough Road, Celbridge. This project received approval in principle in August 2019 and will facilitate the delivery of 10 affordable homes. The overall cost and the timing of delivery for this and other projects is contingent upon the completion of design, planning and procurement in the first instance, and Kildare County Council is working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible. I anticipate that a further call for proposals under the SSF will issue in 2020.

Another project at Maynooth in County Kildare is being funded under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) at a cost of over €14.5m. This public infrastructure project will be key to the delivery of approximately 720 cost reduced homes.

These schemes complement some of the other key Government affordability initiatives, such as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have supported over 16,500 households nationally.

In addition, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development, seeks to support ambitious and strategic projects which have the potential to transform rural economies and communities. The Government has committed €1 billion over 10 years to the Fund and €315 million is allocated to the Fund for the period 2019-2022. In this area, my Department will also work with the local authorities and other infrastructure providers to develop a programme of serviced sites to attract people to build their own homes and live in smaller towns and villages as mandated by the National Planning Framework.