Land Development Agency ‘will hamper delivery of public housing’ – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that the proposed Land Development Agency “will hamper the delivery of public housing to meet social and affordable housing need”. The Dublin Mid-West TD said that “it appears that the Government has got the design of the new agency badly wrong.”
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The idea of a strategic land management agency is a good one. Giving an agency the power to pool together public land holdings to ensure that’s they are being used in the most appropriate way has real merit. However, the details of the proposed Land Development Agency emerging from Cabinet yesterday are very worrying. It appears that the Government has got the design of the agency badly wrong.
“It seems the Government is going to use the new agency to bypass Local Authorities and to replicate the controversial Joint Venture/Land Initiative funding model. This model sees public land being sold to private developers and between 50% and 70% of the houses delivered on the site then sold at market prices.
“This is not the most effective use of public land and will limit the ability of the state to deliver the level of public housing that is required to meet social and affordable housing need.
“The Joint Venture/Land Initiative model is also incredibly slow, adding at least an extra 18 months to the overall development timeline. This is because each project is subject to a competitive negotiation between the private developer and the agency before a preferred bidder is approved. Then the project has to go through the already slow planning and development process.
“Once again, the Government’s blind overreliance on the private sector will hamper their ability to meet social and affordable housing need. A much better approach would be for the Land Development Agency to focus solely on the strategic management of public and private land. Where sites are deemed appropriate for residential development, Local Authorities should be funded to develop the sites focusing on social, affordable rental and affordable sale homes.
“This would allow Councils to deliver a much larger volume of social and affordable homes in order to meet existing and future housing need. If this was combined with a reform of the Department of Housing’s approval, tender, and procurement process, we would see a large volume of good quality social and affordable homes delivered faster and at a lower cost than under the Government’s current proposals. ”