• Irish Bulletin

Land Development Agency will have powers to remove land from local councils

Updated: Mar 30

The LDA Eliminates the Local Council Vote



Irish Councils will be able to transfer state lands to the Land Development Agency without any vote from councillors under a bill to give the agency a legal basis. The LDA was established as a State agency under secondary legislation in September 2018 with a declared plan to build 150,000 new homes over the next 20 years, (Project Ireland 2040). The LDA "will periodically report to Government on public lands which could be suitable for housing or urban development". Under the bill, the Government can direct that such lands be transferred to the LDA. The bill also provides that the LDA will have first refusal to purchase public lands being put up for sale. "The legislation will add affordability to the housing market." Minister Darragh O'Brien CPO Powers


'In response to the pre-legislative scrutiny and by way of amending the initial LDA Bill General Scheme, we have ensured there is greater flexibility on the public lands affordability requirement, more clarity on the transfer of public lands to the LDA including a ‘first refusal’ clause along with appropriate CPO powers for the LDA.


Also, local authorities can transfer lands to the LDA without requiring a council vote, accelerating the process, clearing blockages and driving on development.' "Dangerously undemocratic" -

Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin

The LDA will undermine Irish Local Democracy


'This move to bypass councils would further eroding local democracy. I don’t know why Fianna Fáil is so terrified of local democracy and their councillors getting to have a say on the sale of local authority land. The minister’s time would be better spent on ensuring local councils have adequate funding and staff to deliver social and affordable homes instead of looking to score cheap political points to the detriment of local communities.'


"To put it in stark terms, the currently constituted LDA has the potential to be a Trojan horse that will see public land used to build tens of thousands of unaffordable market homes, sold to real estate investors, providing huge profits to developers and finance, all paid for by you, and locking Generation Rent into permanent housing penury."

Rory Hearne (assistant professor in Social Policy at the Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University).


Hearne specifically mentioned the Public-Private Partnership deals like the O'Devaney Gardens plan, with private investors using public sites across Ireland. In 2019, it was revealed that the developer could make up to €67 million profit on the back of the public land, if it sold all the properties at their highest estimated value. In 2019, the company refused to release its estimate, saying the procurement process was not complete and its plan "was deemed to be most economically advantageous by the city council".


The developer would also benefit from around €50,000-per-unit from the Serviced Site Fund for the affordable houses and a development levy of around €10,000 will be waived for the social units and deferred for the affordable ones.

Sources:


Councils to transfer lands to Land Development Agency without vote from councillors -

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/politics/arid-40221122.html


Land Development Agency Bill - https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2021/11/


Homeownership will remain a pipe dream for Generation Rent - https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/commentanalysis/arid-40231385.html

'A poor deal' - Lord Mayor of Dublin criticises Council plan to give public land at O’Devaney Gardens to a private developer - https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/a-poor-deal-lord-mayor-of-dublin-criticises-council-plan-to-give-public-land-at-odevaney-gardens-to-a-private-developer-38506789.html


Taxpayer funds may be used to boost developer's profits - https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/taxpayer-funds-may-be-used-to-boost-developers-profits-38505227.html

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