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Greens Urge Government to Extend Vacant Sites Levy Process

Only 11 out of 31 Local Authorities will be in a position to levy landowners by January deadline

Image of Kilkenny City from above for Vacant Site Levy press release

The Green Party has today urged the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government to ensure all local authorities have their Vacant Sites Register completed in advance of the January deadline. In situations where this is not possible the January deadline for levying a charge on landowners under the Vacant Site Levy will need to be extended. The call comes as it transpires that only eleven out of the State’s 31 local authorities will be in a position to charge the levy by the January deadline.

Green Party Spokesperson for Local Government, Cllr Malcolm Noonan: “With such demand for housing across the country, it is somewhat disappointing that only eleven local authorities will be charging the levy next January.

“This levy was initiated by Government in 2015 as a site activation measure to bring vacant land into use for housing and Minister Coveney stated at the time that it was part of the Government’s commitment to tackle the housing crisis. If so, why are so few local authorities at a level of preparedness to move forward with the levy?”

Cllr Noonan said that the Local Authority of which he is a member – Kilkenny County Council – is ready to charge the levy in 2019 and planners are hopeful that it will have the desired impact of releasing development lands in areas of most need around the city and county to become activated for housing.

“It is a complex process from establishing a register, to informing landowners, to varying development plans, but it is essential that all councils maximise the potential to develop land; particularly as private rents and homeless presentations increase across all local authority areas. The solutions to the current crisis are layered and involve a good balance of private and public housing, but targets cannot be met without serviced sites and land hoarding should not be tolerated.

“We are calling on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to convene a meeting with the City and County Manager’s Association (CCMA) and the representative body for Local Government members (AILG) with a view to establishing reasons behind delays in so many counties and to share best practice between councils to ensure that all local authorities are in a position to charge the vacant site levy as early as possible in 2019. This may entail extending the process further. This is an unprecedented crisis that should be met with the urgency it deserves.”

Note on the Vacant Site Levy below


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