Land Development Agency ‘another Fine Gael Quango’ says Limerick councillor

Cllr Joe Leddin, Labour Party. Photo: Cian Reinhardt.

THE LAND Development Agency (LDA), established by Fine Gael in 2017, has failed to deliver one house on state-owned land since its establishment.

That’s according to Labour Party councillor Joe Leddin, who says that last week’s report on the lands the LDA has acquired is testament to the continued downgrading of local councils’ role in the building of public housing.

“Several sites identified and acquired by the LDA in Limerick will fail to see any house or apartment in the next 20-30 years,” Cllr Leddin predicts.

Speaking to the Limerick Post, the City West representative hit out that that the much-publicised Colbert Quarter, which includes lands at Carey’s Road, Roxboro Road, and Hyde Road, are now designated as Class 3 (sites with only long-term potential).

“Therefore, the expected timeframe for any development is 20+ years. This is a shocking indictment by Government in the midst of a housing crisis causing misery to thousands of families and children languishing on waiting lists that grow every year,” he fumed.

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Class 1 sites (those with least known constraints) such as the former Gas Networks site on O’Curry Street can expect development within a 5-10 year period, despite the site being strategically placed adjacent to the city centre, he claimed.

“The Fine Gael plan to fast-track the delivery of public housing on public land is failing miserably and the housing crisis is now also impacting on the ability of businesses to attract talent due to the lack of accommodation.

“Councils have historically delivered social housing for decades and it is nothing short of disgraceful that more quango agencies are being established and stuffed with hundreds of employees on well-paid salaries while hundreds of sites lay idle and undeveloped.

“Why can’t Government resource councils with the necessary funding so that we can get on and deliver much needed social houses rather than having to wait decades more to see these sites developed with much needed houses and apartments?” he asked.

Speaking to Joe Nash on Limerick’s Live 95, LDA Head of Strategic Planning Dearbhla Lawson said that the commercial State-sponsored body has a very good partnership with Limerick City and County Council.

She explained that their role is to accelerate affordable housing and to identify more complex strategic sites for development.

“There’s a big focus on delivery and we are actively progressing our portfolio. You have to start with the big picture. This is part of the solution in delivering housing. It is not the full solution,” Ms Dawson added.

Regarding the Colbert Quarter site, the LDA’s Chief Planner said that they were dealing with a “big, complex, strategic site”.

“There’s a bit of work happening in and around the Colbert area. It is an excellent site with potential to be transformed. I do hope to see houses finished on this site by 2028,” she concluded.