Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Alan Kelly TD and Minister for Housing, Planning and Co-ordination of Construction 2020, Paudie Coffey TD, have announced a new fast tracked process of funding approvals for social housing construction projects.
Under the new process, funding approval can be given by the Department of Environment Community & Local Government in just one approval stage for projects up to €2m in value and up to 15 new housing units. Ordinarily new social housing construction projects go through a more extensive, multi-stage approval process. Accordingly, the new arrangement for projects up to €2m or 15 units will enable local authorities to progress these projects more quickly to construction stage.
Minister Kelly stated “since the launch of the Social Housing Strategy, we have worked with local authorities to drive the delivery of a new social housing building programme. We have also reinforced the capacity of the authorities by sanctioning almost 400 additional staff for this work. In parallel, I have been keen to identify options to accelerate the time involved in advancing new projects, to ensure the best possible implementation of the half a billion euros of new social housing capital projects that we have so far approved.”
Minister Coffey added: “it’s appropriate that there is rigorous oversight of the public funding spent on new social housing and our Department is responsible for this. This new arrangement strikes the right balance between that oversight and the need for maximum efficiency in project delivery. It puts a stronger responsibility on local authorities to deliver these projects within budget. Given the focus nowadays on mixed tenure in social housing, projects are often designed at a smaller scale and are therefore likely to come under this new arrangement.”
“The delivery of social homes for families is a priority for this Government and this delegated responsibility will assist in the early delivery of such homes. We need to keep administration to a minimum and reduce any red tape that may slow the progress of housing schemes,” ended Minister Kelly.