Part V, Vacant Land and “Use it Or Use It” changes may not address housing needs

The Irish Planning Institute (IPI) is meeting the Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht this afternoon (20th January 2015) to discuss the General Scheme of the Planning and Development (No.1) Bill 2014. Social housing, development contributions, a vacant site levy and “use it or lose it” planning permissions are among the issues to be discussed. 

Speaking in advance of the meeting Irish Planning Institute President Mary Hughes said “The blanket proposal for 10 per cent social housing on new developments risks an oversupply in some areas and an undersupply in the Dublin region. Given the rapidly improving market in Dublin in particular we believe provision for some affordable element for the Greater Dublin Area should be considered. It confirms the urgent need effective forecasting of housing supply and monitoring of delivery of housing in areas where supply is needed.”

Hughes continued “The Institute recommends that a site or land value tax be considered as an alternative to the vacant site levy. Any levy introduced should have a mechanism which ensures that land in public ownership is subject to the levy which is not what is currently proposed. Many key vacant sites are in currently in public ownership. The “Use It or Lose It” proposal where a planning permission may be revoked if development does not proceed within a certain timeframe risks reducing supply by increasing the uncertainty for developers and investors.”

Ms Hughes concluded “The Government’s ‘Planning Policy Statement 2015’ published last week emphasised the role of public participation, professionalism, transparency and accountability in the planning process. These principles must be heart of any planning reform. There is no doubt that elements of the planning process need to be streamlined but it is a concern that we are amending planning legislation to stimulate growth before reforming key elements of the system by introducing the proposed planning regulator and developing a National Planning Framework to succeed the National Spatial Strategy.”

Click here to download the opening statement submitted to the Committee on the 13th January 2015.