SF moves Bill to rescind Part V exemption for developers

Party accuses Government of capitulating to developers on social and affordable housing

 Eoin Ó Broin says the exemptions  will result in the loss of thousands of affordable homes across the State. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Eoin Ó Broin says the exemptions will result in the loss of thousands of affordable homes across the State. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin has published legislation to remove an exemption from the new Part V social and affordable housing measures for developers who have acquired land in the past five years.

As part of its recent Affordable Housing Act, the Government increased the portion of new housing developments that have to be set aside to meet wider social needs under Part V of the Planning and Development Act.

The change means 20 per cent of new developments – instead of 10 per cent – must now be earmarked for social and affordable housing.

However, the legislation allows developers who purchased land between September 2015 and July 2021 and who seek planning permission before July 31st, 2026 an exemption from the higher threshold.

Mr Ó Broin accused the Government of capitulating to developers by allowing such exemptions and putting in place a long lead-in time for the new measure to take effect.

Concessions

He said the exemptions would allow certain developers and investors to continue to benefit from the 10 per cent requirement.

“This will result in the loss of thousands of affordable homes across the State, including in sites like Poolbeg in Dublin city and Clonburris in my own constituency,” Mr Ó Broin said

“There is a desperate need for affordable homes now. Protecting developers and investors from the 10 per cent increase in Part V requirements is the latest in a long line of concessions, which include the delayed banning of co-living and the stamp duty exemption for long-term leases and apartments,” he said.

Mr Ó Broin said his Bill was a simple piece of legislation, which removed this exemption to developers.

“Without this change being made to the Affordable Housing Act, the Government capitulation to developers and investors has effectively rendered the Part V increase to 20 per cent meaningless as it will not start to appear until after 2026,” he said.

“The Government use of the guillotine and its tendency to slip in technical amendments to complex planning legislation without allowing adequate time for scrutiny and debate has resulted in bad legislation being rushed through the Oireachtas, ” he said.

“At the time the Bill was being rammed through, I cautioned the Government against this approach and raised concerns about the amendments, while also requesting a briefing from the Minister. Unfortunately, none was forthcoming,” he said.

More than 2,000 unsold affordable housing units delivered under the original Part V planning rules remain on the books of local authorities more than a decade after the property crash.

They were intended for homebuyers on lower incomes but, when the property market crashed, demand dried up. In many instances, the affordable prices were higher than open-market prices, which had plummeted.