Latest Laois News: Local TD claims bypassing of councils slowing housing supply
Bypassing of Councils is slowing down housing supply – Deputy Stanley
Sinn Féin proposing that power be given back to local authorities to drive planning developments in their area
Speaking in the Dáil on the Planning and Development Bill 2021, Local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley said:
“While Sinn Féin supports the Bill before the house this evening, it fails to address many of the larger problems that plague our planning process.
Local authority County Development Plans must be the primary document as Councils are democratically elected and accountable to the local community.
It is frustrating to see their authority being diminished and their powers bypassed over time as key decisions are transferred to An Bord Pleanála.
From my work with the PAC, we have evidence that An Bord Pleanála is inundated with planning applications, particularly around Strategic Housing Developments (SHD’s) and judicial reviews which are causing substantial delays.’’
“We need to ask why applications with over 100 units are being diverted to An Bord Pleanála, where they can take over a year for approval, when local authorities can sign off on them in less than two months?
The evidence shows that there are major backlogs in the planning application process at a time in which we need desperately to free up more land for housing.
The simple reality is that we need more land made available for private, social and affordable housing and the current rate of progress is just too slow.
Local authorities also need to implement the vacant site levy more vigorously. Serious pressure needs to be put on these developers to free up land they are hoarding for housing. ‘’
“Last year, councils in Ireland were owed more than €21.5m in vacant site levies and collected just €21,000.
I received a PQ back from the Minister in February confirming that Laois and Offaly councils hadn’t collected anything.
The levy clearly isn’t working and doesn’t serve as a deterrent.
There are developers hoarding land, waiting for prices to increase while families wait on homes. We also need to ask whether the 7% annual max levy is high enough of a deterrent?’’
“Sinn Féin is proposing that we give power back to local authorities to drive planning developments in their own area.
That will speed up the planning process through de-centralisation, and that we impose serious levies on sites left vacant by developers.”