Provisions for social houses delays new home building

Alan Kelly: Announced a further allocation of €182m.

The building of new homes is being delayed due to difficulties implementing new provisions for social housing.

Developers must submit specific plans for social housing at the pre-planning stage, slowing up the planning process and delaying the commencement of building.

Under the old rules, the details of the social housing elements of developments were finalised after planning permission was granted.

It comes as Environment Minister Alan Kelly announced a further allocation of €182m in funding for the delivery of nearly 1,000 additional social housing units.

Publishing the 2015 Social Housing Report yesterday Mr Kelly said 13,000 new units across the country were delivered in 2015 while 2,000 people were taken out of homelessness.

However, the figures were criticised by both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin who said he was rehashing old announcements.

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen said: “He throws figures out and he has nothing to substantiate them with.

“Ten local authorities built no social housing for the past two-and-a-half years. Is he proud of that?”

One developer told the Irish Examiner he has four projects ready to go but all are encountering problems over providing details on social housing before the specifics of what exactly he can build are finalised at planning permission stage.

The new rules require the provision of 10% social housing in developments above 10 units. The developer now has the option to provide a housing unit at cost or a site for social housing. Previously, the developer could give money in lieu.

Architect Eoin O’Confaigh said: “You cannot get off first base until a planning application is validated in the county council and that won’t happen until everything is gone through at an early stage.

“It wasn’t designed to slow everything up but that’s what is happening.”

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said it was unaware of problems arising but added: “We are in contact with planning authorities and are checking out whether there are any issues in relation to the implementation of the circular referred to and will issue further advice on this matter if necessary.”

News: 6

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