To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the number of sites under the land aggregation scheme; the number of strategic management plans put in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Land Aggregation Scheme (LAGS) was introduced in 2010, to assist in the gradual unwinding of loans taken out by housing authorities to purchase land for the social and affordable housing investment programme. This was in cases where loans were due to mature and where it was considered unlikely that land would be developed in the short to medium term.
A total of 73 sites with a total area of circa 243 hectares were accepted into the Scheme before it was discontinued in 2013. Under the Scheme, ownership of LAGS sites is transferred to the Housing Agency which is tasked under Rebuilding Ireland with bringing forward these sites for development.
To set out a path to achieve housing development on LAGS lands, the Housing Agency published its LAGS Strategic Development and Management Plan in February 2018. This set out development proposals for all 73 sites, along with a further 13 sites also in their ownership. The plan identified 36 LAGS Sites as being Suitable for Immediate Development. The remaining 37 sites were categorised as Secondary Sites. The plan can be found on the Housing Agency website at https://www.housingagency.ie/publications/land-aggregation-scheme-strategic-development-and-management-plan.
In terms of the development of the sites, the Housing Agency is prioritising those which are already serviced and which have with the most potential to deliver housing at scale in the short to medium term. Currently 19 projects are being progressed across 17 LAGS sites which will deliver 788 social homes. Details of progress on these and other developments can be tracked through the Social Housing Construction Status Report. The latest report (Q2 2019) is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-for-q2-2019-2/.
Moreover, following on from the publication of the Land Aggregation Scheme Strategic Development and Management Plan, Expressions of Interest were sought from Approved Housing Bodies to work with the Agency to develop a number of sites not yet under development. Consequently, 18 further LAGS sites are now the subject of discussions between the Agency and a number of Approved Housing Bodies regarding development proposals for these sites. These 18 sites include 8 sites deemed Suitable for Immediate Development and 10 sites categorised as Secondary sites. See tables for below for details of sites and AHB’s.
The Land Development Agency is also in discussions with the Housing Agency regarding the transfer of 3 LAGS sites 'suitable for immediate development' at Devoy Barracks, Naas Co Kildare, Hampton Balbriggan and Hackettstown Skerries in Fingal in order to provide for the development of these sites in a selective, targeted way that will further boost housing supply.
In addition, 6 LAGS sites 'suitable for immediate development' are benefitting from Departmental funding which will help relieve critical infrastructural blockages to enable the accelerated delivery of housing. This includes 3 sites at Mount Avenue, Dundalk, Gibbet Hill Gracedieu Waterford, and Lissywollen in Westmeath which have been approved for funding of €6.48m under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) which will stimulate the delivery of over 650 mixed tenure type homes.
The other 3 sites ‘suitable for immediate development’ at Enniskery Road, Dun Laoghaire, St Joseph’s Road Mallow, Cork and Hackettstown in Fingal have received funding approval of €9.5m under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) to provide the necessary infrastructure so that more affordable homes discounted on open market prices can be delivered. As a result I envisage that 219 affordable homes will be provided on these sites.
My Department will continue to work with the Housing Agency, the relevant local authorities, the Land Development Agency and Approved Housing Bodies with a view to delivering the optimum housing mix from Land Aggregation Scheme sites.
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