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07 Oct 2022

Housing for All has delivered for Laois in last year claims housing Minister

Housing for All has delivered for Laois in last year claims housing Minister

Minister Darragh O'Brien recently visited building sites in Laois with Laois County Council staff and public represntatives.

The Government's Housing for All plan is working for Laois in the past year according the the housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.

A statement from his Department said a range of measures delivered in plan’s first year, including investment in social housing; measures aimed at addressing viability and activating the delivery of new homes; additional supports for renters; measures to enhance construction sector; planning and land management reforms; Measures aimed at bringing vacant and derelict homes back into use also introduced. 

It said that one year on from its introduction, the Government has marked the first 12 months of the Government’s ambitious Housing for All plan, citing the progress made in delivering housing for Laois.

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has visited Laois during the past 12 months to inspect projects under construction. He commented a year into delivery.

“When we launched Housing for All our aim was that everyone should have access to a home to purchase or rent at an affordable price, built to a high standard and in the right place. We backed that with a guaranteed over €4 billion a year in housing investment and a series of actions to deliver 300,000 new homes by 2030, including 90,000 social homes and 54,000 affordable homes. While there’s a lot of work still to do, we can see already, after the first 12 months that the plan is working in Laois and across the country,” he said in a statment.

His Department outlined measures and impacts in Laois arising from Housing for All are:

  • 377 new homes built in Laois in the 12 months to end of June 2022
  • Commencement Notices for 570 homes were received in Laois in the 12 months to the end of July 2022 (a 25.6% increase on the previous 12 months)
  • Planning permissions for 671 homes in Laois to the end of Q1 2022
  • Approval for six new posts in Laois County Council for local authority housing delivery
  • Introduction of exemption from planning permission requirements for converting vacant Laois pubs into homes. The existing exemptions to converting vacant commercial premises into homes in Laois have been extended. Between 2018 and 2021, 30 residential units were provided in Laois through 14 notifications of exempted developments.
  • In 2021, the Government provided €33.95m in total funding to Laois County Council for housing, a 44% increase on 2020. 
  • In 2021, 168 new social homes were delivered.
  • There was a 51% reduction in the number of households on the social housing waiting list in Laois at the end of 2021 compared to the first annual assessment conducted in September 2016.
  • A new expanded Local authority Home Loan
  • Launch of the First Home Scheme
  • Significant funding made available by Government to assist local authority affordable housing delivery, for purchase and rent, through the Affordable Housing Fund
  • A revised cap on any rent increase and legislation on tenancies of unlimited duration
  • Homes ring-fenced for individual buyers through planning changes, with 62 homes ring-fenced in County Laois between May 2021 and mid-May 2022
  • Introduction of a Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant (through Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund) to incentivise the refurbishment of vacant homes in Laois
  • Fair Deal Scheme reforms and Town Centre First policy to reduce vacancy
  • New National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability
  • Reformed planning process for large-scale developments in Laois and elsewhere – greater certainty, clarity and public participation
  • Tax to activate vacant land zoned for housing, commencing in 2024.
  • Measures to increase construction sector capacity in Laois, including greater investment to increase the availability of apprenticeships and training, international recruitment initiatives and the new 'Future Building' initiative to spearhead activation and recruitment for the sector   
  • A number of significant measures to accelerate research and innovation in the sector, including  Enterprise Ireland's new Built to Innovate Fund, a €5m investment for the establishment of a new Construction Technology Centre, and the turning the sod on a new Modern Methods of Construction Demonstration Park.
  • A new design manual and streamlined processes for the procurement of social housing for Laois County Council

The Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD, commenting on the role of local authorities in delivering housing in Laois.

“Laois County Council is playing a central role in delivering housing in the county. Over the past 12 months the Government has provided resources and funding to the council to help it deliver for people in Laois. I’ve recently issued guidelines to Laois County Council on the making of their county development plan to ensure it takes into account projected housing need so that sufficient new homes can be built in key areas of housing demand. We have also streamlined the processes for the procurement of social housing,” he said.

The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, commented on progress made in putting sustainability at the heart of housing.

“Compact growth has to be at the heart of housing provision and planning. Higher population densities will have upshots such as minimal transport demand and shorter travel distances. Since Housing for All was launched, we have made progress in developing legislation to introduce Land Value Sharing and a new concept, Urban Development Zones. These are key reforms in land management and planning, which will result in compact growth and curbs on land speculation,” he said.

 

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