Minister O’Brien calls for public views on policy approach for compact and diverse housing of the future
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, today called for public views on the preferred policy approach towards creating more compact and diverse housing types.
Launching a public consultation on the proposed approach towards, ‘Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines for Planning Authorities’, the Minister emphasised that the aim of the consultation is to secure views and ideas around how we can develop a national policy framework that supports more compact and diverse housing and increase housing supply.
The intention is to provide greater flexibility in the future to allow for more compact and sustainable forms of development and greater housing choice. This approach will not preclude traditional forms of housing or apartment development, as the standards set out are minimum, rather than maximum standards.
Finalised guidelines, to be published before the end of June 2023, will seek to build on - and update - the existing Sustainable Residential Developments in Urban Areas: Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2009).
Launching the consultation today, Minister O’Brien said:
“While progress continues to be made on housing delivery, this public consultation will help our aim of providing a broader range of housing options to meet the needs of a growing and diverse population. New housing should respond to population needs, enhance communities and facilitate a more sustainable way of building communities. I encourage members of the public to help shape the way forward and to influence the delivery of sustainable residential development in their communities.’’
The proposed policy approach focuses on the interaction between residential density, housing standards and quality design and place-making. It proposes:
Among the key proposals for consultation are:
The proposed guidelines afford greater flexibility in design standards such as building separation distances and open space standards, to support the construction of more compact ‘own-door’ housing, alongside traditional housing and apartment developments.
The Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Kieran O’Donnell TD, said:
“As we continue to deliver Affordable housing, the new sustainable and compact settlement guidelines will provide for greater flexibility in design standards such as building separation distances and open space standards which supports the construction of more compact ‘own-door’ housing, alongside traditional housing and apartment developments. I would encourage people to give us their views so that we can increase housing supply into the future in a sustainable way, based on best planning practice.”
Submissions on the proposed policy approach can be made until 5pm on 27 April.
All submissions will be taken into consideration when finalising the Draft Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines, which will be published in May 2023 and subject to public consultation. The final Guidelines will be published by the end of June 2023.
Revised funding model will facilitate AHB-provided social housing developments in all local authority areas and help deliver more social housing
Revised model addresses financial viability issues in rural areas and will help sector overcome challenges caused by construction inflation and interest rate rises
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, today announced changes to the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) funding model, the main funding scheme used by the Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) sector to provide social housing. The changes will address the challenges faced by the sector in accessing income to build social houses, particularly in rural towns and villages.
Minister O’Brien now expects funding approval applications for thousands of AHB-provided homes to follow for areas where AHB-provided schemes were heretofore less viable.
Announcing the changes, Minister O’Brien said:
“The changes I am making to the Capital Advance Leasing Facility will help Approved Housing Bodies to deliver more social housing in all parts of the country - in particular in rural towns and villages where projects at scale have been curtailed by the current funding model. These changes to how Approved Housing Bodies access Government funding will give them - and local authorities - a greater level of financial stability during projects. They will also help the sector overcome challenges arising from recent construction inflation and interest rate rises.
“Approved Housing Bodies are key partners in delivering the ambitious level of social housing envisaged in Housing for All. These reforms will help them to do more of what they do well: delivering high-quality, energy efficient homes and creating sustainable communities. Whilst the revised CALF funding model will remove certain limitations, my Department will continue working with Approved Housing Bodies to ensure that we maintain our focus on achieving value-for-money on all social housing projects.”
Among the reforms Minister O’Brien and his department will implement following completion of the CALF funding model review (published today) are:
AHBs are independent, not-for-profit organisations who, alongside local authorities, provide housing for people on the social housing waiting list or for particular groups, such as older people or homeless people. 450 AHBs across Ireland are responsible for 53,000 homes (owned/leased and managed). At the end of Quarter 3 2022, there was an estimated 8,124 social homes in the AHB build pipeline. AHBs are expected to provide about 43% of the 9,100 new-build social homes and over 40% of Cost Rental homes targeted in 2023. The CALF review was a commitment under Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan to 2030.
The Department will shortly issue a Circular and guidance document to accompany the review publication, to both local authorities and the AHB sector. In addition, this Department will hold regional information sessions for both local authorities and AHBs to give an overview of the review and the revised financial model.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, today appointed the Ordinary Members of the first Board of newly established state body, Tailte Éireann. The Minister has also notified the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage that he has selected Mr David McGarry as Prospective Chair of Tailte Éireann for a five year period. The Ordinary Board members appointed are Martin Sisk, Rowena Mulcahy, Mary Keane, Shirley Coulter, Deirdre O’Keeffe and Gerard Quinn.
Minister O’Brien said:
“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Tailte Éireann’s first Board today. This new state body will bring together a wealth of expertise and experience from the former public bodies of the Property Registration Authority, the Valuation Office and Ordnance Survey Ireland. This will facilitate the streamlining of enhanced land and geospatial services for the State and will allow Tailte Éireann to take advantage of the national geospatial data hub and efficiently combine and integrate the wealth of authoritative land information held by the three former public bodies.”
“The expertise of the appointed Board members and the Prospective Chair will provide vital input to the strategic oversight of Tailte Éireann. As well as having collective responsible for the long-term sustainability of the body, these non-executive Board members will bring an independent judgement to bear on issues of performance, resources, key appointments, and standards of conduct. They will play an essential role in guiding and advising the Chief Executive in relation to the performance by Tailte Éireann of its functions. I would like to thank all of the Board Members for their agreement to serve and wish them every success in their future endeavours. I look forward to working with them and the Executive team to progress important strategic priorities in the future.”
The Minister also noted that the Prospective Chair, David McGarry, who is a member of the Institute of Directors and Chartered Accountants Ireland, brings a wealth of experience to the Board, with former board roles with Bus Éireann and Indaver, and a number of years as chairperson of the Shannon Foynes Port Company and non-executive director of Avadel Ireland. He was previously CFO of Shannon Group, Finance Director of Indaver and an executive with NCB and KPMG.
The Minister noted that:
“David has significant experience in strategic development, change management, transformation, business planning and analysis, financial management, digitisation and governance. He will lead the provision of valuable support by the Board to the management team of Tailte Éireann as they look to integrate and exploit synergies between the various divisions of the new organisation, through the use of technology and better data management opportunities across the functional areas.”
Note for Editors
Role of Tailte Éireann
The Tailte Éireann Act 2022 provided for the dissolution of the Property Registration Authority (PRA) and Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) and the transfer of the functions of those bodies, along with the functions of the Commissioner of Valuation and the Boundary Surveyor, to Tailte Éireann. The dissolution and transfer took effect on 1st March 2023. All the functions currently carried out by the Property Registration Authority, the Commissioner of Valuation, the Boundary Surveyor, and Ordnance Survey Ireland will now be performed by Tailte Éireann.
Tailte Éireann will provide a comprehensive and secure property title registration system, a professional State valuation service and an authoritative national mapping and surveying infrastructure. The body will be independent in the performance of its functions and will be the primary national source of property information and geospatial data and a leader in the development and delivery of land information services. As an integrated land and property service, Tailte Eireann will help to support the planning process and professionals; providing one central body for this information and data.
Appointment of the Board
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage is authorised to appoint the Board under Section 9 of the Tailte Éireann Act 2022. Following completion of an independent process through an open state boards competition managed by the Public Appointments Service (PAS), recommendations of suitable candidates were provided to the Minister. The Ordinary Board members have been appointed by the Minister.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee may choose to invite persons proposed for appointment as Chairperson of a body under the aegis of a Department to appear before them to discuss their strategic priorities for the role. The JOC has been notified of the selection of David McGarry as Prospective Chair of Tailte Éireann.
Minister O’Brien announces additional measures to increase supply of social homes as winter eviction ban is phased out
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, has today (7 March 2023) announced additional measures to increase the supply of social homes to coincide with the phasing out of the winter eviction ban in accordance with the terms of the Residential Tenancies (Deferment of Termination Dates of Certain Tenancies) Act 2022.
This Act provided for a stay on eviction notices for the period up to 31 March 2023, with deferred tenancy terminations taking effect over a staggered period from 1 April to 18 June 2023.
Minister O’Brien also informed Cabinet of plans to give a number of new opportunities to tenants who wish to become homeowners. These include:
“Government have considered a number of courses of action in advance of the ending of the winter moratorium period and believe that a focus on new supply is the best way forward. In 2023 we have plans to deliver an additional 2,000 social homes through acquisitions and leases and these are on top of the 9,100 new builds we have targeted.”
With regard to supply, the Minister pointed out that during the period of the moratorium delivery of social housing continued at pace. In the last three months of 2022, it’s estimated that approximately 4,800 new build social housing homes were delivered, along with 430-530 acquisitions and 600 lease arrangement put in place to provide further capacity. As well as that, during the period or the moratorium 1,532 local authority homes were refurbished under the voids programme and restored to use.
Minister O’Brien added:
“Government know that we must do more to increase supply and protect renters while trying to keep small landlords in the system. I also asked the government to note that my department has commenced a review of the Private Rental Sector which will inform Government on the measures which need to be taken to ensure a well-functioning private rental sector in Ireland that works for all.
“Over the coming months both I and my department will work with our partners in Government to put together a comprehensive new package of effective measures for both tenants and landlords."
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, has reminded people that major improvements to the Local Authority Home Loan, which sees more people being able to apply for the State-backed mortgage, have taken effect, from today (1 March 2023).
Prices of homes eligible for a Local Authority Home Loan have been increased nationwide as have the income limits of those eligible to apply for a loan.
Commenting, Minister O’Brien said:
“From today the improvements to the Local Authority Home Loan take effect meaning more people, across all our Local Authorities, will be eligible for a State backed mortgage. Supporting home ownership is a key objective for this government and the increase in house price limits, coupled with the increase in income limits, will result in more people buying their own home.
“Importantly, building on improvements made this time last year, we have again increased the income limit for single applicants so that those earning up to €70,000 can now avail of the State-backed mortgage.
“These changes reflect the reality of today’s housing market. We will continue to keep the Local Authority Home Loan under review to ensure it remains a vital and relevant support for people who want to own their own home.”
Since February 2018 over 3,300 people have got on the property ladder through the Local Authority Home Loan and its predecessor the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.
Minister O’Brien, along with Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Pascal Donohoe, have signed the amendment regulations to effect the changes below from today (1 March 2023).
The following changes have taken effect:
Increases to house price limits for all local authorities areas: