Cork Chamber, the voice of business in Cork, has welcomed the publication of the Government ‘Housing for All’ Strategy as an important first step in recognition of the seriousness of the housing challenges that exist but has concerns regarding delivery.
Cork Chamber President, Paula Cogan stated “The housing crisis impacts across all aspects of society and on the business community as suitable and affordable accommodation is a prerequisite in any growing and successful economy. To meet the needs of employers seeking to attract talent in a competitive marketplace, quality of life, the local housing infrastructure and environment are key determinants for both investors and a mobile workforce. While the intent of the strategy is to be commended, there are serious questions regarding the joined-up thinking across Government necessary to deliver on the strategy as well as the cost, resourcing and capacity issues that exist as barriers to private sector delivery.”
The organisation, which represents 1,200 businesses in the city region, employing some 100,000 people, said that some of the measures included in the Housing for All Strategy such as a tax on vacant land and properties, changes to preservation orders, planning exemptions for ‘above shop’ conversions and increased funding to the Land Development Agency, and additional investment of €1.3bn in the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund are positive steps towards stimulating the delivery of housing across the region, but they do not go far enough in addressing the viability and delivery issues that exist. If the Land Development Agency is to reach Government’s ambition and to operate as the state developer for housing, serious consideration needs to be given to its structure and resourcing.
Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber, said: “As Ireland’s second city, Cork has the potential to develop as a vibrant urban centre of both national and European significance, however delivery of affordable, quality housing is critical to enabling our future economic growth and to improve quality of life for all.”
“The sustainable delivery of new apartment developments is vital to meet both short-term and long-term housing demand and deliver objectives under the National Planning Framework for the compact spatial development and densification of Ireland’s cities. The establishment of a Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Fund contained within the Housing for All report will go some of the way to addressing the apartment viability challenge, but as the recent CIF/Cork Chamber report produced by KPMG highlights much more needs to be done to address this urgent issue which has not been addressed by this strategy. Over 50% of the 300,000 homes promised for delivery by 2030 are to come from private sector developers, and based on KPMG research findings this, based on current costs, is unviable."
Housing For All is a start but it won’t achieve the desired effect without directly addressing challenges such as brownfield apartment viability. In light of the publication of this strategy, Cork Chamber is calling on the Government for wider departmental engagement to ensure all economic impacts are considered on the issue and direct interventions that will allow the scale of delivery that Housing For All promises