Vacant Sites Register

Background
Under Section 6 of the Urban Regeneration & Housing Act 2015 all planning authorities are required to establish and maintain a Vacant Sites Register as and from January 1st 2017. Following assessment by the planning authority, vacant sites shall be entered on the register where they have been vacant for a minimum period of 12 months preceding their assessment, have an area in excess of 0.05 hectares, are zoned for either residential or regeneration purposes and are consistent with the following criteria as set out in the Act:

In the case of residential land:

  • (a) The site is situated in an area in need of housing,
  • (b) The site is suitable for the provision of housing, and
  • (c) The site or the majority of the site is vacant or idle.
  • In the case of regeneration land:

  • (a) The site, or the majority of the site is vacant or idle, and
  • (b) The site being vacant has an adverse effect on existing amenities or reduces the amenity provided by existing public infrastructure and facilities.l-r: Mark Bergin, Coffee House Lane; Keith Boyle, Bay Tree Bistro, Caoimhe De Laire Staines, Kate Lemon, Harry Earl, Louis O Neill and Marek Koziol, Knockmealdown Honey

    The Council is currently assessing a number of sites for possible inclusion on the register with particular emphasis on sites which are suitable for housing. It is a requirement of the Act that for a site to be entered on the register details of ownership and the market value pertaining to the site are fully set out in the register.

    The Vacant Sites Register and Levy
    The register is now being established with all relevant data and will be fully populated in the coming months. As part of this process the planning authority will notify property owners before 1 June 2017 that their sites are being placed on the register. Thereafter, on demand being made by the planning authority, the owner of the vacant site will be liable for payment of the levy (calculated by the planning authority at 3% of the market value of the site) in respect of each year until the site is no longer vacant. Levies will be charged every year beginning with 2018 while payment will be due in January for all levies due in the preceding year.

    Appeals Process
    When notified by the planning authority of its intention to include a site on the register, a property owner may object to the proposed inclusion and can make a submission to the planning authority within 28 days. Having considered the submission the planning authority may proceed to enter the site onto the register or not proceed to do so as the case may be. If the site is to be placed on the register the planning authority must notify the property owner of the decision and the owner may, within 28 days, appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála. No further action will be taken in terms of the proposed entry until such time as the appeal has been determined by An Bord Pleanála.

    The planning authority is obliged to determine the market value of a vacant site as soon possible after the site is entered on the register, and at least once every 3 years thereafter, and notify the owner accordingly. The owner may appeal this valuation to the Valuation Tribunal within 28 days of the notice. Subject to the right of appeal on a point of law to the High Court, the decision of the Valuation Tribunal is final.

    Prior to 1 June 2018, the planning authority must notify owners of any vacant site which stands entered on the register on 1 January 2018 that the levy for 2018 will fall due in January 2019. An owner of a vacant site who receives a demand for payment of the levy may appeal the demand to An Bord Pleanála 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 such an appeal is upheld, An Bord Pleanála will instruct the planning authority to either remove the entry from the register and cancel the demand accordingly or to amend the demand so as to identify the correct amount of the levy due.

    Links

  • Urban Regeneration & Housing Act 2015
  • Vacant Sites Register
  • Vacant Sites Register Map
  • Copyright © Waterford City & County Council