‘Use it or lose it’ measure to jump-start housing projects

Developers will be forced to ‘use or lose’ large residential construction plans under new laws to be agreed by Cabinet.

‘Use it or lose it’ measure to jump-start housing projects

Developers will be forced to ‘use or lose’ large residential construction plans under new laws to be agreed by Cabinet.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy will tweak laws designed to fast-track significant housing projects to ensure units are commenced within 18 months of planning being granted.

This will put a cap on the length of time developers can sit on their plans granted under the Strategic Housing Development scheme.

The move comes after a review of the scheme and after it emerged that work had not started on thousands of units granted permission.

Mr Murphy will tell Cabinet today that the Strategic Housing Development scheme should be extended for another two years to further help alleviate the housing crisis.

Under the scheme, planning applications for developments of 100 housing units or more, as well as student accommodation or shared accommodation of 200 bed spaces or more, can be made directly to An Bord Pleanála.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, referring to reports, told the Dáil recently that no construction had started on more than 10,000 of the 16,000 units that had received planning permission.

He also said no construction had commenced in 47 of the 64 large housing developments which had been granted fast-track permission.

Mr Murphy will tell colleagues that he intends to reduce the scope for the potential hoarding of sites with permissions for the purpose of increasing site values.

He will say it would be timely to introduce a ‘use it or lose it’ measure now.

Developers who now get planning permission under the scheme will be required to commence a certain level of works within 18 months of the permission being granted, otherwise this will lapse.

The minister is expected to publish the review of the Strategic Housing Development scheme today.

Separately, Mr Murphy is also set to increase the level of commercial or other non-residential uses allowed as part of such scheme applications.

It is expected that he will be open to increasing this from 15% to 20% for mixed use developments in urban locations.

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