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Press Statement: ICSH Says Land Development Agency is Key Lever for Growth of Public Housing Stock


Friday, 5th February 2021

The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) says the Land Development Agency Bill 2021 is a landmark piece of legislation that, when enacted, will empower the state to deliver affordable housing at scale across the country. Speaking on foot of today’s publication of the Land Development Agency Bill 2021, ICSH CEO, Donal McManus, said “The strategic management of state lands with an appropriate tenure mix is really the bedrock of sustainable housing policy. And when it comes to the development of valuable state assets, the public interest is best served by long-term investment in public housing for our population. And that has to mean a very a significant proportion of social and affordable housing built on state lands”

The 2021 Bill has a number of progressive provisions and the ICSH welcomes the link between the expansion of cost rental housing and development on state lands. First refusal on state, or state agency owned, land and the development of a comprehensive register of public land are also to be welcomed. However, we would like to see greater clarity on the proportion of social housing units that will be developed on publicly-owned lands. The Bill currently provides for any housing development on relevant public land to provide 50% of units for cost rental or for sale, or a combination of both. And the Minister may, by order, set a percentage of housing higher or lower than this specified percentage.

Donal McManus added: “The National Planning Framework and Development Plan (Project Ireland 2040) was launched in February 2018, which proposed the establishment of a National Regeneration and Development Agency, signaling a commitment to a long-term strategy that would ringfence public and state lands for affordable housing. The Land Development Agency followed in September 2018 to develop State lands for housing development and regeneration.  The ICSH welcome the work to date to develop an agency with the powers required to ensure that State lands can be managed effectively for public housing delivery, and we look forward to engaging in the consultative process (pre-legislative scrutiny) of the Land Development Agency Bill 2021 to help strengthen these powers”.