Developers to be offered state lands to ease housing crisis

Up to 50,000 new homes could potentially be built on the available land

Dail, housing, homelessness, committee, interim report, chairperson, Eoin O Broin

The Ballymun site of recently completed rapid-build modular homes | Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated 14:21

Plans to open hundreds of sites owned by the state in an effort to ease the housing crisis have been welcomed by construction bodies.

More than 800 sites – across over 2,000 hectares of land - owned by local authorities and public bodies will be offered to the private housing market to help boost supply.

Up to 50,000 homes could be built on the available land.

Four sites in Dublin alone could provide a total of 3,000 homes – including 1,000 social housing units – if the plan is successful.

Launching the initiative this afternoon, the Minister for Housing Simon Coveney denied the move would lead to a sell-off of state land:

“This is certainly not going to be a sell-off of state land,” he said. “In fact quite the opposite, this is going to be the state through local authority housing authorities maximising the potential for housing both social and affordable in particular but also private in terms of getting the right mix.”

Sites at Kilcarbery (South Dublin); and Infirmary Road, Emmet Road, and Oscar Traynor Road (Dublin City) are all included.

Hubert Fitzpatrick, the director of housing, planning and development at the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said the initiative appears to be “very welcome” – adding that the key to its success will lie in the details of the plan.

He said that is his understanding that local councils will offer licences to build joint ventures – whereby construction firms would agree to build social houses in lieu of the purchase price of the land.

“A big impediment to the delivery of housing has been available land with no infrastructure deficits and capable of being developed immediately,” he said. “So this is certainly a very welcome initiative.”

“I think it is great that these lands have now been identified, that proposals have now sought from the industry for development of the lands.

The minister launched the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map this afternoon, calling it a “a vital initial step” towards the new land management strategy being developed under Ireland 2040.

The online portal provides details of residentially-zoned lands; local authority-owned and Land Aggregation Scheme sites; publicly-owned sites with potential for housing development; and active private housing construction sites in the Dublin region.

 “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,” he said.

He commended South Dublin County Council and Dublin City Council for bringing forward four key sites to deliver social and affordable homes –and called on other local authorities to do the same.

“Opening up State-land for mixed-tenure housing is a major policy intervention,” he said. “If others control scarcity in terms of land supply, they control the market. I want the State to ensure that does not happen.”

The minster claimed the 50,000 homes figure was realistic over four years – but insisted the initiative could deliver more.