Despite the housing crisis, more than 3,000 sites with full planning permission are lying idle in Limerick city and county, some for up to 10 years, it has emerged.
In a move to kick start work on these vacant sites, Limerick City and County Council is reaching out to small builders with a project which will provide cost-effective homes and ensure developers return a profit.
The Turnkey programme, launched today, will be open to all small developers who have sites with full planning permission that have yet to be activated, due to unavailability of finance.
The project will see the council sign contracts for the purchase of new homes, with the price including a ‘builder’s profit’.
A council spokesman said: "The contract guaranteeing the viability of the project will enable small builders and developers to secure finance, potentially triggering the development of a large number of sites across the city and county that are otherwise in a logjam.
Deputy Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Adam Teskey said: “Housing is one of the great issues we face in Ireland today.
"In Limerick, we have 2,432 applications on our housing list and we are looking at a number of ways of fast-tracking the delivery of homes and the Turnkey campaign we are launching today is just one of them.
“We have one of the country’s most progressive local authorities here in Limerick and this is further evidence of that. The Turnkey campaign is an innovative solution to housing delivery."
He said the conservative estimate is that, even with modest take up from small builders or developers, there will up to 1,000 additional new homes coming on stream in the coming years.
“Together with the local authority’s ongoing ‘build, buy and lease’ programmes, the local authority’s vacant properties programme in our towns and villages and the requirement on all developments to have a minimum 10 per cent social housing will help make inroads in housing in Limerick," he said.