Fianna Fáil Press Office
05 January 2016
Kelly’s Underhanded Decimation of Part V Planning abolishes Affordable Housing and sets-up NAMA to profit from desperate social need warns Fitzpatrick.
Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin Central Mary Fitzpatrick has strongly criticised Minister Alan Kelly’s track record on housing and specifically his agreement with NAMA for the provision of social housing.
Ms Fitzpatrick explained: “Freedom of Information requests, as well as questions to the Department, reveal unsettling details about the so-called NARPS (NAMA social housing vehicle) agreement with the Department on how NAMA is to deliver social housing units to local authorities.
“As part of its drive to finance the construction of 20,000 housing units – mostly in Dublin – Minister Kelly has made a big play that, as part of the Part V social housing development obligation, these NAMA developments will have to contain approximately 2,000 social housing units.
“However, these FOIs reveal that, far from giving social housing units to local authorities, NAMA (and the developers it is financing) stand to profit handsomely from providing these social housing units.
“This is because, rather than transferring these units (at well below market rates) to the ownership of Local Authorities for their use as social housing, as has always been the case with Part V, NAMA via its special purpose vehicle, NARPS, will acquire social housing units which they will then lease to Local Authorities at commercial prices.
“While Residential developments funded by NAMA are subject to the same Part V planning requirements as non-NAMA developments, it has emerged that due to an underhanded amendment to the Part V legislation* introduced early last year by Alan Kelly, NAMA stand to profit from social housing. In fact NAMA must profit – otherwise the transaction will not pass EU rules for state aid.
“The changes introduced by Minister Kelly in 2015 decimated the Part V obligation, cutting in half the social housing provision in new developments from 20% to 10%. To date the NAMA has delivered zero social and affordable housing units in Dublin’s north docks SDZ.
“However, a little noticed change also introduced means that rather than Developers having to transfer social housing or land to local authorities at well below market cost for use as social housing, Developers (including NAMA) now have the option of leasing properties at market rents to local authorities for use as social housing.
“While Local Authorities will manage and maintain these properties, it has emerged that they will be paying rent to NAMA developers of, on average, €770 per unit per month.
“This is a bizarre change which will significantly increase the cost of social housing provision to local authorities while significantly increasing profits for Developers.
“These changes to Part V are also senseless and can only be explained by either ignorance or over-familiarity with the construction lobby on behalf of Minister Kelly.
Roughly 10% of the 20,000 units (2,000) will be offered to Local Authorities as social housing under the Part V obligation for private residential development. Affordable housing no longer really exists.
“These units will be leased via NAMA’s social housing vehicle (NARPS) to Local Authorities, and most are expected to be in the developments themselves i.e. if a new apartment building is built on the North docklands, 10% of its units will be leased on a long term basis to Local Authorities to use as social housing.
“Local communities in areas like the docklands in Dublin are concerned that NAMA’s plans do not appear to include any social infrastructure such as schools, community facilities. This is a missed opportunity if these developments take place without social dividend. Minister Kelly’s plan is a blueprint for creating an inner city ghetto. In no other modern first world country would a Government waste such prime urban lands on the development of sub-standard housing and seek to make a profit from addressing a most desperate social need.
“We have a unique opportunity in the docklands to develop a modern, stable, urban community with good social mix. I would urge NAMA to take this once in a century opportunity to be ambitious and to undertake development in the docklands that will support commercial activity AND a strong, social and cohesive residential community.
“This can only be achieved if residential units are designed and built in the docklands that attract and retain families,” added Ms Fitzpatrick.