County manager says developers owe €88m to Fingal County Council

Tue, Dec 11, 2012, 00:00

Property developers owe Fingal County Council €87.8 million in outstanding development contribution scheme fees, according to the county manager. The scheme enables planning authorities to require payment of a contribution in respect of public infrastructure and facilities when granting planning permission.

Manager David O’Connor noted a “substantial difference between what is recorded as outstanding and what is actually due” because the council issues invoices on receipt of commencement notices.

“Consequently, substantial invoices are recorded as outstanding albeit work may take years to complete,” Mr O’Connor said.

“A lot of these sites will not be completed under the current planning permissions, but the levy accounts cannot be reconciled until the permissions have expired and sites left in safe and satisfactory condition.”

Other debts are due to be offset by the provision of public works or social housing, he said in a written answer to a question tabled by Cllr Matthew Waine.

Some 60 warning/solicitors letters have been issued this year, court numbers have been assigned in 24 cases, and the council has secured judgment mortgages in 27 cases to date.

Mr Waine had asked the manager to “give a detailed report and breakdown of all monies owed by developers” to Fingal County Council and to name them, although the manager considered the latter request inappropriate.

At yesterday’s council meeting Mr Waine described a proposal to reduce the development contribution levy as a “handout for developers”, some of whom already owe money to the council.

However Cllr Jill Maher said the reduced levy, which was endorsed by the council, was now essential for future infrastructure. If the council does not “encourage development in this county we are not going to be able to provide services for our residents”.