Crowe puts forward proposal to get Galway Housing Going Again

Fianna Fáil General Election Candidate for Galway West Ollie Crowe has put forward radical proposals to address the national and local housing crises.

In a move to get more homes for young people and renters, Crowe has said that all housing plans should now go through the strategic housing initiative, stopping all delays by local authorities and empowering this division of An Bord Pleanala on strategic housing to drive on home development.

“Ultimately, the SHD process should become the basis for the entire planning process in both local authorities and ABP,” Crowe said. He also flagged that Galway needs radical developments to get housing moving again. “Galway has been left behind in terms of economic and social development while other urban areas, such as Limerick, have powered ahead.  The result of this is impacting in planning for and delivering infrastructure such as housing, transport, water services, while chronic traffic congestion continues. Failure to deliver housing is an acute Galway issue,” Crowe highlighted.  “The Strategic Housing Development provisions have been very successful in delivering planning permission for larger housing projects. These provisions have significant benefits which should become the mainstream of the entire planning process. Putting in place the ultimate solution to Galway’s housing problems will take some time and therefore a shorter term strategy is required to get the city and county moving. The national government needs to work closely with local government to remove the bottlenecks to progress. We urgently need to draw up an ambitious plan for the city and county, ignoring administrative boundaries, and quickly move on the implementation of this plan. Crucial to the success of this project would be the appointment of a strong leader and solid representation. Representation would include industry; business; colleges/education; transport and healthcare among others,” Crowe said.

Proposals put forward by Crowe include

  • Controlling land costs and the purchase of lands for social and affordable housing at agricultural values prior to rezoning;
  • Land should not be zoned unless services are available in the area with thecost of servicing being recouped from developers as Planning Permission is granted for the lands;
  • It should be expressly agreed that adjoining landowners have way-leaves through zoned lands for services from adjoining lands;
  • Set up within each local authority, a joint entity with Irish Water to identify infrastructure priorities;
  • Pre-planning requests for meetings with State officials should take place in a timely fashion not months later as happens now;
  • Review/reduce Development Contribution Levies by Local Authorities and Irish Water at least for a limited period to reduce house costs and generate housing activity;
  • Consider removing VAT from residential property (the VAT cost to the purchaser of a€300,000 starter home is €35,682.82);
  • Consider a Government Scheme of providing a top up loan to first-time buyers for a portion of the deposit required which could be secured as a charge on the property ranking second to the primary mortgage provider.

The Cost of housing needs to be addressed…

The average cost of a 3 Bedroom Semi Detached house of 1250 ft.² in Galway is €332,178.
The cost of this house is as follows:
  • Build costs €187,500
  • Professional fees 3%  €5,625
  • Government contributions for services €9,160
  • (Roads,Water,Sewer,Amenity can cost up to €15,000)
  • HomeBond €900
  • Site Cost (Estimate) €50,000
  • Sales and Marketing 0.75%  €2000
  • Legals 1%  €2,900
  • Finance 8%  €20.645
  • Builders Margin 5%  €13,937
  • VAT 13.5%  €39 510.
Total excl VAT €292,668
Total inc VAT  €332,178
Bureaucracy, duplication and lack of joined-up thinking contribute to those high costs.
I will work to reduce costs and make first time homes more affordable.