Minister launches plan to open 800 sites for the building of at least 50,000 new homes

State-owned land is being opened up for development in a bid to ease the housing crisis, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner

Minister launches plan to open 800 sites for the building of at least 50,000 new homes

State-owned land is being opened up for development in a bid to ease the housing crisis, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner

More than 800 sites across the country owned by local authorities and public bodies will be offered to the private market to help boost housing supply.

The plan is to provide at least 50,000 new homes.

In total, more than 2,000 hectares of land controlled by city and county councils and other bodies including CIÉ, the IDA and HSE, will be offered to private developers and housing associations.

According to the plan, Four in Dublin alone are capable of providing 3,000 homes, including at least 1,000 social units.

Expressions of interest from developers are to be sought over the coming days.

The Department of Housing has also identified 30 sites owned by public bodies in the main cities of Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford totalling around 200 hectares, another 73 controlled by the Housing Agency of 250 hectares and a massive 1,500 hectare land bank comprising 700 sites controlled by city and county councils.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Coveney said that on some sites will be exclusively social housing where other projects will be a mix of social and private housing.

He said: "For the first time, we have a central database of land available for housing. This map represents both the opportunity to deliver housing and also the granular data on active delivery from sites around the country.”

The Minister commended both South Dublin County Council and Dublin City Council for their proactive approach in bringing forward four key sites that will deliver up to 3,000 much-needed social and affordable homes. These sites are located in Kilcarbery (South Dublin); and Infirmary Road, Emmet Road, and Oscar Traynor Road (Dublin City).

“I want all local authorities to take up the mantle and to bring forward sites as quickly as possible for development in this way. Opening up State-land for mixed-tenure housing is a major policy intervention: if others control scarcity in terms of land supply, they control the market. I want the State to ensure that does not happen”, the Minister said.

Cork city and county are to see huge tracts of land made available to the market to help boost housing supply, in the plan.

Cork city and county will receive €46m in funding to allow the development of over 3,000 homes by 2021. The funding will support six projects in Cork city and county, as part of a national investment of over €220m.

It is understood that in Cork city, two sites will be prioritised to deliver the housing.

The first is a €15.5m development plan for the South Docks area which will involve significant transport infrastructure improvements and upgrade to Albert Quay. It is also likely a new bridge to cross the Lee will be included as part of improvement works for the Eastern Gateway Bridge western approach.

“This is very ambitious project which we see delivering 700 new homes by 2021. The immediate effect will be to open up the development of residential units on two sites in the South Docks,” said Mr Coveney.

The second is a €10m development of a site on the Old Whitechurch Road which will lead to the development of up to 600 houses.

According to documents obtained by the Irish Examiner, the infrastructure proposed consists of rerouting the high voltage overhead lines which traverse the site and prohibit development at present.

“It will also include the improvement and widening of approach roads on all sides of the site to improve accessibility and capacity, installation of an access route critical to enable site development in phases, and augmentation of drainage, water and utility infrastructure/services to link the site to main services,” the documents state.

Also included in the plans are: a link road in Midleton to facilitate access and create potential for competitive delivery in 2019 and 2020; transport and amenity infrastructure to provide housing in a key area for large employment developments at South Docks; critical investment in roads infrastructure in Carrigaline, Ballincollig and Glanmire.

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