€18.5m paid by developers instead of building social housing in Kildare

Developer payments

Conor McHugh conor@leinsterleader.ie


Conor McHugh conor@leinsterleader.ie

€18.5m paid by developers instead of building social housing in Kildare

File photo

Almost €18.5 million has been paid to Kildare County Council and Athy Town Council by developers in lieu of building social housing.

The Part V provision in the Planning and Development Act 2000 required developers to include a certain percentage of houses for social and affordable housing in every housing development they were building.

However the regulation had a provision which allowed the developers to make a financial contribution in lieu of some or all of the housing units.

The regulation essentially meant that 20% of the land or land value would be used for the delivery of social and affordable housing.

This was intended to increase the number of social and affordable houses available throughout the county, as well as ensuring that housing did not become socially excluding and that people on lower incomes could still access housing in all areas.

It should be noted that the The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 removed the payment of a financial contribution as means of Part V compliance — therefore, all developments from then on which are over one tenth of a hectare in size, or greater than four houses, must have 20% social and affordable housing.

In the 15 years when it was possible to make a financial contribution, Kildare Council (including the former Town Councils) concluded Part V negotiations which resulted in the direct transfer of completed units in 64 housing developments.

Since 2000, financial contributions totalling €18,494,580 were also received by Kildare County Council and Athy Town Council.

No financial contributions, however, were paid to Naas Town Council “as they concluded deals on the basis of transfer of units”, a spokesperson for Kildare County Council explained.

In addition during this period, a total of 1,371 social units were transferred to the Council or affordable units were sold directly to consumers in those 64 developments.

This does not include any units transferred to Approved Housing Bodies such as housing associations.

The Leinster Leader was, in particular, interested in knowing how many of the developments built in those 15 years involved payments in lieu of making housing units available.

However, a spokesperson for the council said that it was not possible to provide a breakdown of the number of developments which resulted solely in financial contributions.

This is because a number of Part V agreements “were concluded on the basis of a transfer of completed units and a balancing financial contribution”.

If there were 1,371 housing units transferred in 64 housing developments in that time, then that works out as an average of approximately 21 per housing development.

Because some developments went with a full 20% of units, while others sought to give a mixture of units and cash, it is unlikely that 21 housing units represents, on average 20% of the houses in each development.

We do not know the total number of developments which resulted in the payments totalling €18.5 million, as this includes the number of developments that didn’t hand over units, but just made a financial contribtion.