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Ireland 2040 Regeneration and Development Agency Commits to Ringfence Public Lands for Affordable Housing

Friday, 16th February 2018
Speaking on foot of today’s launch of the National Planning Framework and Development Plan (Project Ireland 2040), the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) CEO, Dr. Donal McManus, said that the plan had a legal framework and a regional and local planning hierarchy integrating  housing delivery into planning policy, which were absent from previous national development plans. The Project Ireland 2040 commitments around Housing and Sustainable Urban Development demonstrated ambition, and the establishment of the National Regeneration and Development Agency meant a genuine commitment and long-term strategy to ringfence public and state lands for affordable housing. 
The intention behind the National Regeneration Agency is to release strategically located land banks for future affordable housing provision. “Under the terms of the plan, these sites will be committed to public social housing primarily, and that’s important,” Dr McManus said.  “The assembly of land is critical though, and management strategies need to clearly state how land in state ownership will be utilised, and include explicitly which sites will be progressed by housing associations so that they can develop their pipelines and financial commitments accordingly.” 
The 10-year development plan (2018-2027) commits to a Housing and Sustainable Urban Development capital investment of €14.5 billion, that will focus on higher density housing development, prioritising infill developments that will deliver 50% of future housing within our cities and urban centres. The plan also commits to building up a reserve of development land to capture gains in land value. Commenting on these measure, Dr McManus said “The ICSH believes the delivery of additional homes should be through regeneration, the densification of our cities, towns and villages and the utilisation of vacant properties and infill sites where possible. However, development and densification means living towns and cities with a diversity of households: families and individuals, the young and the old. And, in relation, to land value, we need to learn from the mistakes of the past. Developers, waiting in the wings, must not be allowed to profit from state investment in schools and public transport as they did in the past”.
Dr McManus added, “Project Ireland 2040 identifies a collaborative approach between central government, state housing bodies, local authorities and housing association as a central tenet to accelerating social housing provision. ICSH members look forward to strengthening this collaboration and, in particular, strategically building our partnerships with local authorities. Housing associations (also known as approved housing bodies) have delivered more than 2,000 new social homes in 2017 through new build and acquisition and the sector has not reached that level of delivery since 2009. Project Ireland 2040 is a 20-year vision that can address the shortcomings and build on the successes of the Rebuilding Ireland action plan.”

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