Under the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, each local authority was obliged to compile a register of lands in its area that were suitable for housing but which were not coming forward for development. On January 1st 2017, these registers were established and a vacant site levy was chargeable from January 2019 onwards.
What is a Vacant Site?
The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act defines a vacant site as any land where:
In the case of residential land (exceeding 0.05 hectares), there is a need for housing in the area, the site is suitable for housing and the majority of the site has not been in use (i.e. vacant) for an extended period of time but does not include any structure that is a person’s home;”
In the case of regeneration land, the majority of the site has not been in use (i.e. vacant) for an extended period of time and where the fact that the site being vacant is having a negative impact on existing amenities or on the character of the area.
What is Residential Land?
“Residential land” means land included by a planning authority in its development plan or
local area plan in accordance with section 10(2)(a) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended with the objective of zoning for use solely or primarily for residential purposes, and includes any structures on such land
“Regeneration land” means land identified by a planning authority in its development plan
or local area plan, in accordance with section 10(2)(a) of section 10(2)(h) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended with the objective of development and renewal of areas in need of regeneration, and includes any structures on such land;
What happens next?
On January 1st 2017, Kildare County Council established a Vacant Sites Register which aims to identify sites within the County currently zoned for housing or regeneration and suitable for housing but not coming forward for development.
Kildare County Council is currently engaging in an assessment of potential vacant sites in the County.
What information can be found on the Vacant Sites Register?
As set out in Section 8 of the Urban and Regeneration Housing Act 2015, each vacant site placed on the Register will include the following information:
- A description (including a map) of any site in its functional area which was, in the opinion of the planning authority, a vacant site for the duration of the 12 months preceding the date of entry;Where the site comprises registered land, the folio details;
- The name and address of the owner;
- Particulars of the market value of the site; and
- Such other information referred to in the Act that the Minister may prescribe.
Additional information in relation to dates and location may also be provided for ease of reference.
Vacant Sites Register & Levy:
The Register was established on January 1st 2017. The authority must notify property owners before 1 June 2018 that their sites, which are on the register, shall be charged the levy in respect of 2018 in January 2019 and every further year thereafter until the site is no longer vacant. The levy shall be payable in arrears each year beginning in 2019 by the owner of the vacant site that is entered on the register on 1 January of that year. The levy shall be payable on a demand being made by the authority and shall be calculated at 7% of the market value of the site.
When notified by the authority of its intention to include a site on the Vacant Sites Register, a property owner has the right to object and can make a submission to the authority within 28 days. If, having considered the submission, the authority is still of the view that it should be entered on the register, it must notify the property owner of same and the owner may within 28 days appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanala (ABP). Entry on the register shall not take effect until the appeal is determined by ABP.
Before 1 June 2018, the authority must notify owners of vacant sites on the register on 1 January 2018 that the levy shall be charged for 2018 in January 2019. Property owners may make submissions in respect of the entry on the register to the authority within 28 days. If, having considered the submission the authority is still of the view that the property should remain on the register, it must notify the property owner of same and the owner may within 28 days of the date of the notice appeal to ABP. If ABP upholds the appeal the entry shall be cancelled on the register.
The authority must determine the market value of a vacant site as soon as after it is entered on the Vacant Sites Register and notify owner of same. The owner can appeal the valuation to the Valuation Tribunal within 28 days of the notice. Subject to the right of appeal on a point of law, the decision of the Tribunal is final.
An owner of a vacant site who receives a demand for payment of the levy may appeal against same to ABP within 28 days of the date of the demand on grounds that the site is no longer vacant or that the calculation of the levy is incorrect. If ABP upholds the appeal, then either the entry shall be removed from the register and the demand cancelled or it will advise the authority of the correct amount of the levy and an amended demand shall issue.
Where can I find out what Vacant Sites there are in Kildare?
The Vacant Sites Register is available for inspection in Aras Chill Dara during normal opening hours and can also be downloaded at the link below.
NOTE: Kildare County Council is engaging in an ongoing detailed assessment of potential vacant sites in the County.