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Government "use it or lose it" property measures a tiny step in the right direction - Ellis

2 October, 2014 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has welcomed plans by the Department of Environment to implement a "use it or lose it" policy with regard to properties which are lying idle but says more could be done. He made his comments following the release of a range of new planning proposals by Minister Alan Kelly.

Deputy Ellis continued:

"This is a welcome step. Our towns and cities are blighted by vacant sites or disused building which have been left to rot. It is about time we took some measures to rejuvenate our communities by forcing developers and property owners to make use of their assets. But unfortunately the policy is only a tiny step in the right direction and much more could be done

“The government’s plans would require planning permission applicants for housing developments of 10 houses or more to provide a development schedule. If by this date the development is not progressed in line with the schedule, the planning permission can be modified or reduced. This is an improvement but not strong enough at all.

“Councils should be empowered to take control of such developments completed or not if they have been unused for an extended period. The owners should be asked to produce a plan for development of the site - if one is not produced the council should be empowered to take control of the property for a period to use for the benefit of the community.

“With rents for homes so high and so many businesses struggling to keep afloat it is a disgrace that so many office buildings, shop fronts and sites lie idle and much of them are deteriorating due to lack of even the most basic upkeep by owners. They are not just an eyesore in our urban centres but a missed opportunity for urban rejuvenation."

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