Greens: Time to use Compulsory Purchase Powers on Vacant Sites

3rd April 2017

The Green Party today called for State Authorities to take action as Councils publish lists of vacant lands on their Vacant Sites Registers. The call comes as Dublin City Council publishes twenty-five entries on their Vacant Site Register* which was initially published with an empty list in early January.

Green Party Councillor Ciarán Cuffe said: “The Register is revealing: it shows that almost €80 million worth of valuable lands are lying vacant in Dublin City, and these twenty-five entries are only the tip of the iceberg. I have been informed by Council Officials that a further 174 sites came in under the size threshold. Many of these sites could be used to tackle the housing crisis.

“Dublin City Council must now use its Compulsory Purchase Powers to acquire privately held sites that have been empty and vacant for far too long. We can then ensure that they are used to provide housing by ourselves or others. The Council must also put its own house in order and make better use of Council owned lands. Senior Management must review their very conservative approach to  determining whether a building and /or site is derelict or vacant and take a more proactive approach to dealing with owners.

"I am calling on the Minister for Simon Coveney to review the size threshold so that smaller sites are included. He should also increase the levy so that the annual payment is significantly higher than the increases in land costs that we have seen in recent years. There is still a danger that land owners will hold onto their holdings after the levy kicks in 2019, as owners can make more profit from the rise in land value than they might if they were to sell. This is a slap in the face to homeless families, and the Urban Regeneration & Housing Act 2015 must be reviewed and its powers strengthened.

“While greater measures are needed to push private land owners into action, it is also revealing how much vacant land is controlled by the Health Services Executive, the Office of Public Works and state agencies including Dublin City Council. Much of this can be attributed to the impact of the recession, but this is no longer an excuse for inaction.

“Vacant and derelict sites such as the lands owned by Dublin City Council in Dublin's Liberties at the corner of Marshal Lane and Bridgefoot Street must be developed. If the Council can't develop these sites, than we should sell them on to someone or somebody that can, and we should prioritise affordable housing on such sites.

“It is unacceptable for anyone to leave vacant lands empty in our towns and cities in 2017. Such lands can, and must be used to tackle the homeless crisis that has left thousands of families homeless.”