Housing development fees slashed in Laois to jumpstart construction of 800 homes

Lynda Kiernan

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Lynda Kiernan

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lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Construction industry showing "very little activity" in Laois says top official

Construction industry showing "very little activity" in Laois says top official

Discounts on development levies are being introduced by Laois County Council to kickstart housing and revive towns and villages

Weeks since Laois County Council raised Local Property Tax by 10 percent for homeowners, members have agreed to cut developers' levies in an effort to jumpstart housing construction.

In a temporary scheme, developers are being offered a 50 percent discount per unit, if they can build homes in urban areas by November 2019. Instead of paying €4,000 per unit, it will be €2,000, regardless of size.

“The reason is that despite the fact that 750 to 800 units have planning permission in Laois, there is very little activity around the county. “This is to stimulate private developers,” said Director of Services over planning, Kieran Kehoe.

Rural residential homes under 200 sq m will cost €2k.

There are other reductions aimed at restoring life to town centres, in the council's draft Development Contribution Scheme for 2017 to 2023, approved at the September council meeting on Monday.

There is a new 50 percent cut in fees on residential units developed over ground floor commercial units, in town and village centres.

There will also be a 33 percent cut for all developments in town and village centres.

Carpark spaces in towns will be reduced from €1k to €500, but surburban spaces will increase from €5k to €6k.

“This is to entice and support redevelopment of town centres,” said Mr Kehoe.

In a bid to boost job growth, new businesses that create five or more jobs will get a 33 percent reduction.

Farmers will get an exemption for the first 200sq m of agricultural buildings, and pay €5 per sq m after that.

At the request of Cllrs Paddy Bracken and Tom Mulhall, equestrian facilities will enjoy that same initial reduction, paying €34 per sq m after that.

Solar energy will pay the same as wind energy, €10,000 per MW output. Turbines up to 100m will incur a €25k fee each, and €50k over that.

Exempt developments include houses for vulnerable groups, derelict sites and protected structures.

An extra 2,136 new homes are expected to be built in Laois by 2023, and another 310,000 sq metres of non-residential developments.