Minister O’Brien publishes Land Development Agency Bill 2021

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has today (5th February 2021) published the Land Development Agency (LDA) Bill 2021.

The Bill establishes the LDA on a statutory basis and sets out the core goals of the LDA to undertake strategic land assembly and fully utilise state lands to build affordable homes and sustainable communities.

The Bill, which will be brought through the Oireachtas in this Dáil session, will focus initially on public lands in towns of over 10,000 people. It provides that the LDA will periodically report to Government on public lands which could be suitable for housing or urban development and the Government may 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.

Under the Bill the Minister for Housing will specify an affordability requirement for the delivery of affordable homes for sale or rent on public lands. This affordability requirement can be varied on sites in different areas depending on local housing needs.

The Agency can provide services to local authorities for the development of large scale multi-tenure sites for housing and urban development in urban centres over 30,000. This will assist with the construction of increased social housing on local authority owned sites.

Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “I am very glad this Bill is now published and look forward to progressing it through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible. Increasing housing supply is a key objective for the Government and the LDA will play a key role in this regard.

“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.

“There is also a specific commitment to sustainable communities and best environmental practise, while the agency will be subject to FOI and enhanced Oireachtas committee accountability.

“Local Authorities can transfer lands to the LDA without requiring a council vote, accelerating the process, clearing blockages and driving on development.

“Ultimately, through this Bill, the LDA will be empowered to provide homes for affordable purchase, cost rental and social housing – another step in the Government’s direction of ‘Housing for All’,” he concluded.

The Bill is available here.