Number of sites on Dublin landhoarder list has doubled

Register has 70 vacant sites worth €220m which could help alleviate housing crisis

The Law Society of Ireland has already appealed the inclusion of its vacant site on Benburb Street to An Bord Pleanála. Photograph: Eric Luke

The Law Society of Ireland has already appealed the inclusion of its vacant site on Benburb Street to An Bord Pleanála. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Seventy sites worth more than €220 million, which could accommodate thousands of homes, have been entered on Dublin City Council’s register of vacant sites.

The number of sites on the Dublin city register has doubled since May, with the Law Society of Ireland, CIÉ and the Croke Park Stadium company among landowners recently added to the list.

The register, which allows local authorities to impose a levy on property owners who fail to develop prime housing land, came into force on January 1st. By mid-May the city council had published details of 36 sites, with a total market value of almost €117 million, which could be used to help alleviate the State’s housing crisis.

By the end of July one site had been removed from the register, but another 35 had been added, bringing the total value of sites on the register to €221,600,000.

Appeal

Despite only being named on the register since July 28th, the Law Society of Ireland has already appealed the inclusion of its vacant site on Benburb Street to An Bord Pleanála. The council had previously decided not to include the site, next to the Luas Red Line, on the register because the society had maintained it intended to integrate it into its Blackhall Place campus. The council has now reversed this decision and placed a value of €5.4 million on the unused land.

The society is one of seven property owners to appeal their inclusion on the city’s register to An Bord Pleanála.

Property owners have 28 days after they are notified by the council that their site is to be put on the register to lodge an objection with the council. If the council decides the property should still be on the register, the owner has another 28 days to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

Other owners who have lodged appeals include The Health Service Executive, which owns five late-Victorian derelict houses at Grangegorman Villas; the Office of Public Works, which own two sites on Military Road with a combined value of more than €17 million; and Dublin Central Limited, the owners of the site beside the old Carlton Cinema on O’Connell Street, which has been vacant for more than 40 years.

Never built

The site owned by the stadium company, Páirc An Chrócaigh Teoranta, is a plot to the rear of the Croke Park Hotel on Jones’s Road and has been valued at €4.8 million. The most expensive new addition to the register is the former Players Wills cigarette factory on the South Circular Road, which had planning permission for hundreds of apartments which were never built. It has been valued at €22 million.

A site at Vicar Street, previously listed on the register as in the ownership of Nama, has been changed to show developer Harry Crosbie as its owner.

The city council owns seven sites with a combined value of more than €27 million.

To be hit with the levy, which is 3 per cent of the total value of the site per year, the vacant sites must be bigger than 0.05 of a hectare, excluding gardens. The majority of the site must be “vacant or idle” for more than 12 months, be zoned for residential or regeneration purposes, and be in an area in need of housing.

The council must notify property owners before June 1st, 2018 that they will be charged the levy in respect of that year and it will be payable in 2019, and every year thereafter until the site is no longer vacant.