Green Party calls for greater action on vacant sites in Dublin

Dublin City Council has published a blank Vacant Sites Register although the catalogue will reportedly eventually contain nearly 400 properties

Green Party calls for greater action on vacant sites in Dublin

Green Party Councillor Ciarán Cuffe, 09-03-2012. Image: Laura Hutton/RollingNews

The Green Party is calling for more action regarding vacant sites in Dublin after the City Council published a blank Vacant Sites Register on New Year’s Day.

New laws requiring planning authorities to establish a Vacant Sites Register came into effect from 1st January.

However, Dublin City Council is one of a number of councils around the country to publish a blank register in order to comply with the new laws.

Almost 400 properties will reportedly be placed on the Dublin register once the council completes the process of deciding whether the sites identified have been vacant for the required 12 months.

The registers have been introduced in order to allow local authorities to impose a levy on property owners who fail to develop prime housing land.

The levy will be set at 3% of the market value of a site - however it will not be due for payment until January 2019.

Green Party Councillor Ciarán Cuffe has written to Dublin City Council Chief Executive, Owen Keegan to call for greater action on vacant sites and to warn that the blank register is “counter-productive and will not achieve urban regeneration.”

“Publishing a register with no entries runs the risk of making us look ridiculous,” said Mr Cuffe.

“We have known for over a year that this law came into effect on 1st January 2017, and we should have been better prepared.

"To most people it looks like we're complying with the letter, but not the spirit of the law. Placing sites onto the Register at an early stage would concentrate the minds of owners into developing these lands and will send a clear signal that Dublin City Council is minded to tackle vacancy as soon as possible.”

Mr Cuffe has also called for the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 to be amended to include smaller sites under the threshold of 500 square metres.

“Such sites are large enough to include several vacant buildings or significant lands and could contribute to tackling the housing crisis,” he said.

“The Act should be amended downwards to include lands of 100 square metres. Such sites are common in the city and significantly contribute to the poor appearance of many neighbourhoods.”