______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 01/02/2024
Question Number(s): 286 Question Reference(s): 4844/24
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage with reference to the compulsory purchase order activation programme which his Department launched in April 2023, the targets that have been set for each local authority for the number of identified vacant and derelict properties to enter the programme; the number of such properties in each local authority that have been brought back to use under the programme; the number of properties in each local authority where the owners could not be identified or where they were unwilling to engage and where the available legislative powers have been used or are in the process of being used to compulsory purchase such properties, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


Pathway 4 of Housing for All sets out a blueprint to address vacancy and make efficient use of our existing housing stock. Many areas of cities, towns and villages of all sizes face the blight of vacant properties, which, if brought back into use, could add real vibrancy and provide new accommodation in those areas. While the reasons for vacancy are often complex, the re-use and regeneration of vacant properties in cities, towns, villages and rural areas can provide much needed housing while also transforming areas and the communities living in them.

The Vacant Homes Action Plan, which was launched in January 2023, outlines the progress that has been made in addressing vacancy, along with the actions that are being pursued to return as many vacant properties back into use as possible.

Under this Action Plan, my Department launched the CPO Activation Programme in April 2023, which provides for a planned, proactive and systematic approach by local authorities to bringing vacant and derelict properties back into use. Targets have been set for each local authority for the number of identified vacant and derelict properties to enter the Programme. Overall, there is a target of 4,000 properties entering the Activation Programme in 2023.  These are based on levels of vacancy in the local authority area. Of these, a target of 400 has been set for properties to enter the compulsory acquisition process, where engagement with the owner has not resulted in the vacant or derelict property being brought back into use, to be subsequently used for social housing or made available for sale on the open market. This Programme includes guidance and supports for local authorities to actively use their legislative powers to compulsorily acquire vacant and derelict properties, where engagement with owners has been unsuccessful.

The 2023 Activation Programme and targets for each local authority are available on my Department’s website here:  https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/261571/63028ee9-1259-4abc-98fb-c953a4aecba4.pdf 

Each local authority will be required, to provide data in relation to the properties entering the Programme, activity undertaken and progress made, along with outcomes. My Department will report on the 2023 targets in Q2 2024.

The most efficient home to deliver is one which already exists. I firmly believe that the commitment this Government has made to addressing vacancy and dereliction will continue to play a vital role in delivering homes and revitalising local communities.