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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 600 - 620
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Planning Issues
 Header Item Unfinished Housing Developments Data
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Provision
 Header Item Local Authority Boundaries
 Header Item Housing Assistance Payment Administration
 Header Item Departmental Schemes
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Provision
 Header Item Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Provision
 Header Item Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund
 Header Item Housing Data
 Header Item Planning Issues
 Header Item Budget Measures
 Header Item Departmental Surveys
 Header Item Housing Policy
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 600 - 620

Departmental Bodies Data

 600. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of his Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43418/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Details in relation to the membership of State Boards including the dates of appointment and mechanisms of appointment of members under the aegis of my Department are available on the Department’s website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/corporate/transparency-data/appointments-state-boards/appointments-declg-state-boards.

  In the case of certain appointments to State Boards, statutory selection procedures must be followed or nominations must be sought from independent nominating panels before appointments are made by the Minister or the Government, as appropriate. In addition, in the case of a number of Boards, not all of the appointments to the body concerned are made by the Minister, and in some situations appointments are made by the Minister with the consent of another Minister. Furthermore, appointments to An Bord Pleanála are of a full-time executive nature and are governed by statutory processes.

   A “unitary board structure” is in place for Ervia and its subsidiaries, Irish Water and Gas Networks Ireland.  An overarching non-executive board has overall responsibility and accountability for the performance of the Ervia Group. The Boards of the two principal Ervia subsidiaries, Irish Water and Gas Networks Ireland, are executive-only boards.

  The Public Appointments Service portal www.stateboards.ie offers a single dedicated point of contact to all Government Departments, as a support to the existing State Board appointment procedures.  This service provides a mechanism for Departments to advertise board vacancies and it gives prospective candidates an opportunity to register their general interest in a position on a State Board and to be alerted to upcoming vacancies.  This process for appointments to State Boards includes an assessment of the skills and competencies required to be a member of the relevant Board.

Planning Issues

 601. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the reason elected members who have the authority to adopt the county development plan and bring it into effect do not have the authority to make variations to the plan. [43519/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English The relevant provisions setting out the procedure to initiate a variation to a City or County Development Plan or a Local Area Plan are set out in the Planning Acts.

Recognising the different roles of both elected members and officials, planning and local government legislation distinguishes between legal functions reserved to the elected members on the one hand, and executive functions on the other, both being part of the planning authority.

Section 13 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) sets out the legislative basis for varying a Development Plan.  With regard to the initiation of a variation to a development plan, Section 13(1) states:

A planning authority may at any time, for stated reasons, decide to make a variation of a development plan which for the time being is in force.

The administrative steps associated with formally initiating the variation process, such as placing advertisements, writing to prescribed bodies notifying them of the commencement of the variation process as set out under sections 13(1)-(4) are executive powers of the officials, as no Council resolution is required to invoke these sections.

However, the elected members are the decision-makers at an overall policy level, once presented with the aspects of the plan to be varied.  For example, subsection 13(6) allocates specific powers for elected members to consider reports and recommendations of the Chief Executive and to subsequently decide whether or not to vary the development plan. 

While elected members are not empowered to direct the Chief Executive to initiate a variation to a Development Plan, they may at any time request their officials to consider the initiation of a review, which the executive would normally respond to by way of a formal report to the Council on the merits or otherwise of the relevant proposal and the practical aspects of same.

My Department is currently reviewing and updating its Planning Guidelines on Development Plans and will be incorporating and clarifying the plan variation process in the revised draft with a view to publication for public consultation later in the Autumn.

Unfinished Housing Developments Data

 602. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the 430 housing estates that remain unfinished, by county; the estimated number of occupied houses or persons living in these unfinished estates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43676/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English The 2016 Annual Progress Report on Unfinished Housing Developments, published in March 2017, highlighted that the number of ‘unfinished’ developments had reduced by over 85% from just under 3,000 developments in 2010 to 420 developments in 2016, with 248 developments resolved in 2016 alone.

  Funding of the resolution process is now centred around investment by housing providers and their funders as well as income from bonds and securities.

  Of the 420 remaining estates, 34.8% of these are occupied.  All information on the remaining unfinished housing estates (including a list of the names of all 420 estates and a breakdown of the figures by county and by occupancy rates) is available on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/unfinished-housing-developments/national-housing-development-survey/unfinished-housing.

  The 2016 Annual Progress Report is available at the following link:  http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/resolving_unfinished_housing_developments_-_2016_annual_progress_report.pdf.

  The residual level of unfinished housing developments remaining is expected to show further reduction when the 2017 survey is finalised and the 2017 Annual Progress Report is published by year end.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

 603. Deputy Eamon Ryan Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy further to Parliamentary Question No. 629 of 3 October 2017, the details of the affordable rental scheme, including the definition of "affordable" used; the way in which the scheme is to be administered; the way in which interested persons can apply to the scheme; and the way in which this scheme differs from the affordable rental available by way of a Dublin City Council tenancy paying a differential rent. [43775/17]

 604. Deputy Eamon Ryan Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy further to Parliamentary Question No. 629 of 3 October 2017, if the affordable scheme includes affordable purchase homes for persons looking to buy as only affordable rental is referenced. [43776/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 603 and 604 together.

The issue of housing affordability has been examined, as part of the Review of Rebuilding Ireland, in consultation with Dublin City Council, other local authorities and relevant stakeholders.  The review is now largely complete and I expect to be in a position to announce details  of the outcome in the coming weeks.

With regard to the Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone specifically, it is intended that, of the 3,500 new homes permissible on the site under its Planning Scheme, 900 will be delivered as social and affordable units.  Of the 900 units referred to, 350 (10%) will be delivered as social housing in accordance with the provisions of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended.

It is also intended that a commercial agreement, with confirmed funding, will be entered into prior to commencement of development, between Dublin City Council, my Department and the owners/developers of the residential element of the overall SDZ area, for a further 550 new homes, the majority of which could be either for affordable rental or affordable purchase, with the balance of the 550 provided as social housing with a particular focus on housing for older people. 

The specific arrangements will be confirmed when the commercial agreement is finalised by Dublin City Council, taking account of affordable housing policy.  The final tenure mix and other arrangements will be the subject of careful consideration by Dublin City Council, the elected members included, in due course.

Local Authority Boundaries

 605. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan Information on Aindrias Moynihan Zoom on Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if he will consider the views of the Cork public regarding proposed changes in the boundaries of Cork city and county councils. [43795/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy John Paul Phelan): Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan Cork County Council has initiated a proposal for alteration of the boundary under Part V of the Local Government Act 1991. As this proposal is the subject of a statutory process which may lead to an application for Ministerial decision, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the matter.

Housing Assistance Payment Administration

 606. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if there are circumstances in which a landlord's payment from the local authority in respect of rent due can be withheld, totally or partially, in the event of the tenant not paying their weekly rent contribution to the local authority in respect of HAP. [43803/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is a flexible and immediate housing support that is now available to all eligible households throughout the State. There are currently more than 28,000 households having their housing needs met via HAP and some 20,000 separate landlords and agents currently in receipt of HAP payments. A weekly average of 348 HAP tenancies have been set-up during 2017.

  HAP is a form of social housing support under which local authorities will make monthly payments on behalf of tenants directly to landlords in respect of rent, subject to the terms and conditions of the scheme. All the terms and conditions of the HAP scheme for both tenants and landlords are available on the dedicated HAP website, www.hap.ie, and associated HAP documentation.

  HAP tenants are required to sign a rent contribution agreement to pay a weekly rental contribution to the local authority in line with the local authority’s differential rent scheme. As set out in the rent contribution agreement, this weekly rental contribution must be paid by them so that they remain eligible for the HAP scheme. HAP recipients are required to set up automatic electronic rent payment arrangements.

  The HAP Shared Service Centre (SSC) manages the collection of all HAP tenants’ differential rents, on behalf of the relevant local authority, and the payment of all HAP rents to landlords on behalf of tenants supported by the HAP scheme. The HAP SSC applies a very clear communication policy if rental arrears issues arise. This policy includes regular and early written communication with tenants, landlords and the relevant local authority.

  Outside the formal notification letters there would always be attempts to contact the tenants by phone and by email to settle accounts and avoid escalation of the debt process. Depending on the activity of arrears in question, both the relevant local authority and the landlord are informed when an account has not been cleared and of possible suspension and/or cessation of the HAP payment. However, in the vast majority of cases a payment plan to deal with the arrears is agreed between the tenant and the local authority, before there is any necessity to advise the landlord.

  If the tenant does not contact their local authority or does not enter into a payment arrangement within 8 weeks of the arrears commencing, both the landlord and the tenant are informed that the HAP payment may be ceased. To date the approach has been very effective with minimal levels of rent arrears arising for HAP tenants. In 2016, when 12,075 additional households were supported by HAP, the scheme had a 99% differential rent collection rate, with minimal arrears arising for tenants or local authorities. Therefore, a very small number of tenants have fallen into difficulty with their differential rent. In 99.7% of cases where the tenant has had difficulty, this has been resolved with their local authority without any impact on the landlord’s payment. Therefore the likelihood of a HAP payment to a landlord being suspended or stopped is very small and occurs in only a very limited number of cases.

  My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review. In general, I am satisfied with the operation of the HAP scheme and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

Departmental Schemes

 607. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy his Department's new HAP tenancy targets for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, in tabular form. [43833/17]

 608. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy his Department's new RAS tenancy targets for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, in tabular form. [43834/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 608 and 607 together.

  The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) is a social housing support introduced to cater for the accommodation needs of persons who are in receipt of long-term rent supplement. In general, households with a housing need who are in receipt of rent supplement for more than 18 months are considered for RAS.

  RAS remains a significant part of the suite of social housing options available to local authorities and to those who are assessed as being in need of housing support. 618 of the 1,000 new RAS transfers targeted under Rebuilding Ireland in 2017, had been completed by end of August 2017.  With the introduction of HAP to all local authority areas, the availability of Rent Supplement has changed and is generally no longer available to households with a long-term housing need. This change reduces significantly the numbers of households entering rent supplement support. Equally, as the transfers of existing rent supplement recipients with a housing need to HAP accelerates, the numbers of long term rent supplement recipients eligible for RAS will decline as will RAS transfers.

  The following table sets out the annual target for the number of additional households to be transferred from Rent Supplement into new RAS tenancies as set out in Rebuilding Ireland and the annual targets for additional households to receive HAP support in each of those years.

  2018 2019 2020 2021
RAS 600 600 600 0
HAP 17,000 16,760 13,000* 10,000
  * The ambition is to complete the transfers of eligible households from Rent Supplement to HAP by 2020

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

 609. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the delivery of and targets for delivery of social housing owned by local authorities and approved housing bodies, properties leased under the SHCEP programme and properties leased under RAS and HAP programmes for each year covered by Rebuilding Ireland, for example, 2016 to 2021. [43835/17]

 624. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if he will provide a breakdown of the 40,000 real social housing units to be delivered under Rebuilding Ireland by categories (details supplied), in tabular form. [43992/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 609 and 624 together.

  Following the first phase of my review of Rebuilding Ireland and with the provision made under Budget 2018 for social housing delivery, there is now a greater emphasis on direct build activity by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs).  The following table sets out the targets in respect of social housing under the main programme areas for each year of Rebuilding Ireland.

Year   Build Acquisition Leasing RAS HAP
2016 Target 2,260 1,755 225 1,000 12,000
2016 Delivered 2,965 1,957 792 1,256 12,075
2017 Target 3,200 1,250 600 1,000 15,000
2018 Target 4,969 900 2,000 600 17,000
2019 Target 6,385 1,025 2,130 600 16,760
2020 Target 7,716 800 2,631 600 13,000
2021 Target 8,907 800 2,450 - 10,000


  In terms of the specific categories of delivery referred to by the Deputy, the following table shows the elements of the build activity of almost 33,500 social housing homes, including homes that will be built directly by local authorities and AHBs, as well as properties constructed for social housing through Part V and refurbished properties/Voids, together with some 6,500 acquisitions, over the period 2016 to 2021.
Delivery Build Acquisition
Local Authority 16,328 1,480 
AHB 8,960 5,050
Refurbished properties/Voids 3,459 -
Properties constructed for social housing through Part V 4,690 -
Total 33,437 6,530

Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund

 610. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of houses to be delivered in each of the 18 sites for which LIHAF contracts have been signed; and the number of houses on each site that will be sold at price bands (details supplied). [43836/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy 34 projects, at a total cost of €226 million, received preliminary approval for funding under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) and these have the potential to provide an estimated 23,000 new homes across the country by 2021. Local authorities were allowed to proceed to design phase on all of the projects, pending final approval and sign-off of a grant agreement between the Department and Local Authorities.

  I have already given final approval for the first tranche of 22 of the 34 infrastructure projects which will activate supply of approximately 11,880 housing units.  Grant agreements in respect of those projects have been signed.

  It is estimated that of the 11,880 housing units, approx 2,200 will be social housing units made up of Part V units and additional social housing being provided on the 11 State-owned sites that are benefiting from the LIHAF-funded enabling infrastructure, as well as producing some affordable housing for sale or rent.   

  As required under the scheme criteria and conditions, there is an agreed cost reduction or a related affordability scheme included in the agreements on all of the approved sites to ensure that there is a proportionate dividend for the State’s investment in infrastructure, as demonstrated by a proportionate reduction in house prices either across all of the homes being facilitated or a specified number of homes which will benefit from a larger price reduction.  Based on the information provided by the local authorities in their agreements and analysis of current house prices in the areas concerned, and recognising the commercial sensitivity around some of the details in the agreements reached, the approved projects outside Dublin are likely to have new homes for sale towards the lower end of the bands identified by the Deputy, while the projects in Dublin are likely to have starter homes available towards the middle and upper end of these bands.

  In relation to the 22 sites for which grant agreements have been signed, the number of houses to be delivered on each site is set out in the following table.

  I expect to be in a position to consider and approve the remaining projects shortly and further summary information in relation to all LIHAF funded projects will be made available on my Department's website at that stage.

  Table: Approved Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund projects.

Local Authority Project name
Total cost €
Housing delivery by 2021
Cork City Old Whitechurch Road
9.89
600
Cork County Midleton (Water-rock)
6.50
520
Cork County Glanmire
5.90
300
Cork County Carrigaline
0.6
400
Dublin City Dodder Bridge
15.75
1,500
Fingal Donabate Distributor Road
15.50
1,200
Fingal Oldtown Mooretown
4.90
800
Fingal Baldoyle Stapolin
6.18
500
Kildare Sallins
0.93
250
Kildare Naas
6.00
800
Kilkenny Ferrybank
0.62
200
Kilkenny Western Environs
6.76
530
Limerick Mungret
10.50
400
Louth Newtown Drogheda
1.22
200
Louth Mount Avenue Dundalk
3.33
212
Meath Ratoath
3.15
266
Meath Farganstown, Navan
5.68
400
South Dublin Kilcarbery / Corkagh Grange
4.39
1,000
South Dublin Clonburris SDZ
3.00
1,000
Waterford City and County Council Gracedieu
1.32
200
Waterford City and County Council Kilbarry
3.39
400
Westmeath Brawny Road, Athlone
1.83
202
TOTAL  
117.34
11,880

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

 611. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the mechanisms available to local authorities to ensure the provision of affordable homes on public or private lands including those included in the four land initiative schemes in Dublin city and county, the strategic development zones in Clonburris and other land on which councils, approved housing bodies or private developers plan to develop affordable housing. [43837/17]

 612. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the definition of "affordable housing" in terms of household income and purchase price of properties. [43838/17]

 618. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy his plans regarding affordable housing; his further plans to reintroduce the scheme which was abolished in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43873/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 611, 612 and 618 together.

  Housing affordability for individual households is a unique function of, inter alia, income, prevailing market prices and rents in different locations, as well as access to funding and finance.  While there is no universally ideal price/rent-to-income ratio or minimum residual income requirement, there is broad agreement that households, particularly low- to moderate- income households, should be spending no more than one third of their net income on housing costs over the longer term.

  The development of the State land bank for housing is a key Government objective and to this end, the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map was published on 27 April 2017 and is available at http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/rebuilding-ireland-land-map/. Local authorities and the Housing Agency are now finalising Development Management Plans for their sites.

  The final development model for each site, including the tenure mix, will be the subject of careful consideration by the local authority concerned, including its elected members. The development of many sites for social and affordable housing is already underway.  For example, the Dublin local authorities are well advanced in bringing large-scale sites forward for mixed-tenure housing, with projects advancing that can deliver around 3,000 mixed-tenure homes in the Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council areas alone and other sites planned.

  Funding for 34 projects under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), at a cost of €226 million, will be key to the delivery of more than 20,000 new homes over the next four years.  There will be homes available at below €320,000 on 70% of the sites being opened up through this enabling infrastructure. South Dublin County Council has approval for three projects at Adamstown, Kilcarbery, and Clonburris, respectively. The total cost of these projects is €27.4 million, of which €20.5 million will be funded by my Department, and €6.9 million by South Dublin County Council. These projects are expected to facilitate the delivery of 3,000 homes by 2021 and have the potential to support 11,500 housing units in the longer term, once the sites are fully built out.

  As I have previously signalled, the Government recognises the housing affordability pressures faced by many households, particularly in certain parts of the country, and as such housing affordability has been examined across a range of interconnected policy areas in the context of the ongoing focused review of Rebuilding Ireland. A number of new and enhanced actions in this area have already been announced and I expect to make further announcements in the coming weeks as this work is finalised.

  New measures introduced to date, to enable the provision of affordable homes, to buy or rent, include:

- Planning reforms, such as the fast-track planning approval process for developments of scale with over 4,000 homes worth of applications submitted to An Bord Pleanála;

- Reduced and reformed development contributions;

- Rent caps in specific Rent Pressure Zones; and

- Amendments to apartment planning guidelines to allow for more cost-effective and affordable apartment development for our city centres.

  On 10 October, as part of Budget 2018, I announced an additional €75 million in Exchequer funding for new affordable housing initiatives.

  Firstly, there will be a second LIHAF fund of €50 million to unlock even more sites, more quickly, and at affordable prices.  Secondly, I’m introducing a new fund of €25 million, to be provided over 2018 and 2019, aimed at unlocking local authority-owned land specifically in order to deliver affordable housing on those sites.  My Department is currently drawing up the criteria for access to this scheme, to be announced in the coming weeks, along with further affordability measures.

  In terms of residential land more broadly, the combination of the capital gains change and the more than doubling of the vacant site levy to 7%, as signalled in Budget 2018, will help to address the issue of land hoarding and to release more land for residential development.

Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund

 613. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the expected draw down of LIHAF funds in 2017; the expected carryover of unspent LIHAF funds from 2017 to 2018; the LIHAF allocation for 2018 including carryover; and the way in which the €50 million announced for the second LIHAF call related to the initial announcement of the €226 million LIHAF announced in 2016. [43839/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The total cost of the 34 projects approved under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund is €226 million, of which 75% (€169.5 million) will be funded by my Department, with local authorities funding their 25% share (€56.5 million). 

This funding is ring-fenced within the overall housing budget and will be available for local authorities to drawdown over the lifetime of the projects.  The total allocation for 2017 is €50m but given that most projects are at design phase there will be an underspend on LIHAF this year. However, any underspends in one year will be made good in future years and, through proactive management of the broader housing programme, any such underspends can be applied to other housing activities in the year in question, ensuring that the funding available in any given year is fully applied.

The first drawdown for LIHAF projects is likely to occur in late November and actual drawdown figures will be available by the end of the year. The allocation under LIHAF for 2018 is €60 million.

The €50m, as announced as part of Budget 2018, is additional funding which will separately be available for a second call under LIHAF  and will again be subject to matching funding at 25% by Local Authorities. This will allow us to build more infrastructure to unlock further sites and activate more housing supply.  A further call for proposals under LIHAF is likely early in 2018.

Housing Data

 614. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of Part V units purchased with funding from his Department in the past 12 months by local authority area; the average price paid for these units in each local authority area; the maximum price paid for any Part V unit in each local authority area; and the number of properties purchased in each local authority area at a price above the average for that local authority area in the past 12 months, in tabular form. [43840/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department supports local authorities and approved housing bodies to acquire new social homes through the Part V mechanism through the provision of capital assistance under the Social Housing Capital Investment Programme (SHCIP), Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and also through the long-term leasing of properties under the Social Housing Current Expenditure programme (SHCEP). As such, there is no one dedicated funding scheme for Part V units and the Department does not record information in the manner requested.

Some housing developments completed in 2016/2017 were subject to older Part V agreements made before 1 September 2015, when other options - such as a financial contribution, the provision of fully or partially serviced sites or the provision of land elsewhere in the functional area of the planning authority - were available. This means that properties currently being obtained via Part V may originate from either developments under old permissions and agreements or through agreements under the new legislative provision and accordingly, costs differ and an average cost would not be indicative.

Details on the number of social housing properties constructed, purchased and leased by local authorities and approved housing bodies, for letting to those on their social housing waiting lists, are published on my Department’s website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision. Information in respect of most areas of social housing is available up to quarter two of 2017, while specific data relating to social housing delivery under the Part V arrangements is available up to end 2016.

Planning Issues

 615. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if the limits of the exempted development area for roof mounted solar panels, including photovoltaics, will be raised in order to increase Ireland's response to climate change mitigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43847/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, all development, unless specifically exempted under the Act or associated Regulations, requires planning permission.

Section 4 of the Act and Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, set out various exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission.  Any such exemptions are subject to compliance with any general restrictions on exemptions set out in the Act or the Regulations and to the specific conditions set out in each class of exempted development in Schedule 2 of the Regulations.

With regard to exemptions for solar panels, Class 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection of a solar panel on, or within the curtilage of a house or any buildings within the curtilage of a house", subject to certain siting and size conditions.

Class 56 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection on or within the curtilage of an industrial building, or any ancillary buildings within the curtilage of an industrial building, of solar panels (thermal collector or photo-voltaic)", subject to specific conditions.

Furthermore, Class 18 of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection on an agricultural structure, or within the curtilage of an agricultural holding, of solar panels (thermal collector or photo-voltaic)", again subject to a number of conditions. 

Exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission in respect of specific forms of development are provided for, when they are considered to be consistent with proper planning and sustainable development.

These exemptions provided for in the Planning and Development Regulations are kept under regular review, in consultation with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment..

Budget Measures

 616. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the details of the €15 million allocation in budget 2018 for infrastructure and services on local authority owned sites; the way in which this funding can be applied for; if it can be incorporated into land initiative projects; and if there is a target number of affordable units to be delivered in 2018 and 2019 under this fund. [43869/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy On 10 October, as part of Budget 2018, I announced an additional €75 million in Exchequer funding for new affordable housing initiatives. A second LIHAF infrastructure fund of €50 million will unlock even more sites, more quickly and at affordable prices. The first LIHAF was well over-subscribed, so it is expected that the second LIHAF call will be answered very quickly.

Recognising the significant challenge households face in securing affordable housing in parts of the country a new fund of €25 million will be provided, over 2018 and 2019, to unlock local authority-owned land specifically to deliver affordable housing. Local authorities have already worked very successfully with co-operative housing bodies in delivering infrastructure on local authority-owned sites so that co-operatives can make affordable housing available. I would like to see this model made available on a much greater scale.

My Department is currently drawing up the criteria for access to this scheme, to be announced in the coming weeks, along with further affordability measures.

Departmental Surveys

 617. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the publication date for the residential land availability survey 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43872/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department intends to conduct a new strategic national analysis of the extent of residentially zoned land next year to update and expand upon the previous 2014 survey of the extent of lands zoned for housing in statutory development plans and local area plans set out in the table.

  Serviced & unserviced residentially zoned lands (ha) Housing potential(units) Est. housing land supply (in  years)
National 17,434 414,712 16
Dublin 2,654 116,705 11+


  Given the focus of housing demand pressures in recent years, particularly in the Greater Dublin Area, and taking account of newer sources of information such as the quarterly Dublin Housing Supply and Co-ordination Task Force reports, providing summaries of lands both zoned and with planning permission in place for housing, it was not deemed necessary to conduct national surveys annually.

  However, in light of the wider recovery now underway in the housing supply sector and the intended finalisation of the National Planning Framework, Ireland 2040: Our Plan, later this year, my Department intends to put in place new monitoring systems to support its implementation so as to ensure that the appropriate quantum of zoned and serviced lands is available in the relevant locations to meet strategic development requirements and that the necessary land management and infrastructure delivery arrangements are in place and functional to drive plan-led development.

  Such monitoring systems will also be required in connection with the preparation of the three Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies to be adopted by the end of 2018 which will further develop the national planning policies set out in the NPF for a regionally co-ordinated approach to local authority development plans, including their provision of lands for future housing development purposes.

  Accordingly, a strategic assessment of lands for housing development purposes will be progressed in the first half of 2018.

  Question No. 618 answered with Question No. 611.

Housing Policy

 619. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of meetings of the Rebuilding Ireland project oversight group he has held since coming into office. [43932/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Since the publication of Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s attention has been firmly focused on delivery.  Implementation of Rebuilding Ireland is being advanced across a number of Departments, under the oversight of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, Housing, and Climate Change, chaired by An Taoiseach. 

Within my own Department, a group of senior officials, chaired by the Secretary General, monitors progress on a regular and ongoing basis.  Working Group structures under each of the Action Plan's five Pillars have also been put in place.  In addition, to ensure broader consultation and engagement with delivery agents and stakeholders on implementation progress and emerging issues, an Oversight Group and a Project Board have been established.  The Oversight Group met on 30 November 2016 and 22 February 2017 and the Project Board has met on 14 December 2016 and 25 February 2017.  

Since taking up Office, I have met with all housing stakeholders to discuss their views of the ongoing implementation of Rebuilding Ireland and further actions to be considered as part of the one-year review of the Action Plan, which is largely concluded.  Future meetings under the formal governance structures of Rebuilding Ireland will be arranged in the coming weeks, once the work on the Review has concluded. 

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

 620. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of units delivered through SHCEP in each of the years 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017; the target number to be delivered for each year from 2018 to 2021; the number of these units each year that will remain in private ownership, council ownership and ownership of an approved housing body; and the cumulative annual cost of servicing these leases for each year from 2014 to 2021. [43957/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP), administered by my Department, provides funding to local authorities to support the on-going contractual costs of long term leases for housing units that are made available for social housing. These contractual arrangements - up to 30 years in duration - can be entered into with approved housing bodies (AHBs) in respect of properties which are owned, leased, constructed or purchased by those organisations or with private owners of property.

  To the end of September 2017, the number of operational units under SHCEP is 9,414. The total output under SHCEP in each of the years 2014 to 2016, and to date in 2017, is set out in the following table.  Details of the output of social housing units under SHCEP is published on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision

YEAR Total SHCEP Output
2014 1,065
2015 1,477
2016 1,358
2017 to end Q3 1,205


  In total, it is estimated that an additional 21,100 units will be incrementally supported under SHCEP in the period 2018 to 2021. This includes an estimated 3,350 units to be sourced through the Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS), over 8,000 units under long-term lease arrangements from a range of different sources and 9,610 properties which will be delivered by AHBs through a combination of the support under my Department's Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and private borrowings, including from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA). Properties sourced by local authorities and AHBs under long term lease arrangements, including RLS, are likely to be owned by private property owners at the end of the lease term. Properties constructed or acquired by AHBs are likely to remain in the ownership of AHBs.

  The annual number of units set to be funded under SCHEP in each of the years 2018 - 2021 are set out in the following table, as well as the specific delivery streams, which include construction, acquisition and leasing activity.
SHCEP delivery stream 2018 2019 2020 2021
AHB Build & Acquisition units secured under availability agreements 1,800 2,088 2,617 3,105
Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) units from private owners 800 950 950 650
Longterm leasing from private owners 460 780 881 1020
Longerm leasing from NTMA/ISIF Special Purpose Vehicle 1,000 1,000 1,500 1,500
Total units to be funded under SHCEP 4,060 4,818 5,948 6,275


  The annual cost of SHCEP to the Exchequer is made up of the continuing cost of supporting existing tenancies and contracts in place at the end of the previous year together with the additional cost of the new tenancies and contracts supported over the course of the year to which the allocation relates. The cost of the schemes in future years is therefore dependent on the number of housing units falling to be funded within the scheme and the lease payments involved. Exchequer funding for SHCEP in 2017 is €84m and an allocation of €115m has been secured for 2018 – an increase of €31m. The allocations for SHCEP from 2019 to 2021 will form part of the annual Estimates processes. Details of the funding drawn-down by local authorities under SHCEP in 2014, 2015 and 2016 are provided in the following table.
SHCEP Expenditure Total
2014 €34,844,780
2015 €42,275,724*
2016 €54,028,752
  *Of this figure, a total of €7,933,651 was self-funded by local authorities using funding from their RAS Reserve. 


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