Housing Report Calls for Urgent Expert Management of State Land to Deliver Affordable Housing

Thursday, 12th April 2018
The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) welcomes today’s publication by the Department of Housing of a series of reports investigating the obstacles to affordable housing delivery in Ireland. Commenting on the reports, ICSH CEO Dr. Donal McManus said, “recommendations for the strategic management of state lands with an appropriate tenure mix is welcome as this is something the ICSH has been seeking for some time.  However, when it comes to the development of valuable state assets, the public interest is best served by ensuring that a very a significant proportion of social and affordable housing is built on state lands”.
Alongside observations on land in private ownership, the Review of Delivery Costs and Viability for Affordable Residential Developments report makes specific recommendations around the use of state lands. The recommendations follow-on from work already done under the Project Ireland 2040 plan, which proposed a National Regeneration Agency to release strategically located land banks for future affordable housing provision. “When it comes to state land development and assembly, it’s vital that the tenure mix is not diluted in preference of solely private home ownership,” Dr McManus said. “The strategic management of state lands must ensure a continuous pipeline of building land for social housing. Housing associations have almost 6,000 homes in the delivery pipeline and the housing association sector is tasked with delivering up to 15,000 homes by 2021. This report identifies numerous obstacle to affordable housing delivery and chief amongst these are land costs.  Housing associations need state lands to deliver social rented homes affordably. It’s as simple as that”.
Dr McManus added, “The report communicates urgency around bringing state sites to market that are capable of volume residential delivery as well as a delivery team with the appropriate expertise, and this is important. In addition, it points to the capacity of the housing association sector to deliver affordable housing on serviced state lands. On foot of these reports, the ICSH would also recommend a review of the housing land map to ensure all state and semi-state mapped land is up-to-date and accounted for, as well as an investigation into the potential for underutilised urban and suburban sites in state ownership,” Dr. McManus said.  
Thursday, 12 April, 2018