On 28 April 2023, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (the Department) issued a Circular Letter (PL 04/2023) which confirmed a "temporary time-limited waiver" in respect of "section 48" development contributions for residential development.
This measure has been introduced as part of a new package of housing support measures announced by the Government on 25 April 2023 to ensure that housing targets are met by, inter alia, reducing construction costs.
Section 48 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), empowers a planning authority to include conditions in planning permission requiring the payment of a contribution in respect of public infrastructure and facilities benefiting development in the area.
In recognition of the increasing costs of construction and in order to expedite residential development, the Government has approved a temporary waiver of "section 48" development contributions for residential development (the Waiver).
The Waiver will apply for one year to all permitted residential development – irrespective of the date of planning permission – that:
(i) commence on site between 25 April 2023 and 24 April 2024, and
(ii) are completed not later than 31 December 2025.
The Waiver will also apply in respect of:
(i) commencement notices which were submitted 28-days prior to 25 April 2023 i.e. on or after 28 March 2023; or
(ii) 7-day notices which were submitted to the local authority on or after 4 April 2023.
At the time of writing, details as to how the Waiver will operate have yet to be confirmed, however, the following proposals have been made in the Department's Circular Letter:
- The Department will discharge development contributions on behalf of the developer to ensure that the Waiver does not impact on local authorities' ability to fund the ongoing provision of necessary infrastructure. It is proposed that such payment will be made by the Department on the submission of commencement notices by developers to local planning authorities and on verification by the planning authority that development has actually commenced on site.
- Developers availing of the scheme will be required to produce an undertaking confirming that they agree to comply with the conditions of the scheme.
- Clawback arrangements will be put in place to deal with circumstances where the requirements of the scheme have not been complied with.
Uisce Eireann water and wastewater connection charges
The Department also clarified in its Circular Letter that Uisce Eireann water and wastewater connection charges must still be paid upfront by developers in the usual way. However, monies paid will be refunded by Uisce Eireann on notification of the commencement of works.
At a time where Ireland is in a housing crisis and some permitted developments are not being commenced due to, inter alia, increasing construction costs, it is hoped that the Waiver will incentivise and expedite residential development. We look forward to details as to how the Waiver will be administered.