REVENUE from derelict sites could help to transform communities, a Cork TD has said.
Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould has asked Cork City Council to account for their “failure” to collect funds under the Derelict Sites Levy.
According to a recent report from the Chief Executive of Cork City Council, in the fourth quarter of last year, there was a total amount of €1,739,640 levied to that date with €163,231 received.
In the second quarter of this year, up to 31 May, there was a total of €1,748,390 levied and €51,800 received. There was an increase in the amount received within the third quarter with €476,766 received.
Speaking on the report, Thomas Gould TD welcomed the increased uptake in collection within the third quarter of this year, however he said there is still “serious potential” to collect substantial sums that could be “transformative” for communities in Cork.
He said that an increase in resources now and the staff and funding needed to collect these levies “could have huge benefits in the long-term.”
Deputy Gould added: “Tackling dereliction won’t solve the housing crisis alone but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s a step forward that could see change delivered for ordinary people.”
Cork City Council applies a derelict sites levy to eligible sites on the Derelict Sites Register. A levy is applied once a year.
A spokesperson for the Council said they provide ongoing support for those who own derelict sites with a number of grant aids available to assist site owners in the redevelopment of properties.
“Dereliction is complex in nature, and the collection of levies can be challenging as site owners in some cases choose not to engage, or many may not have the financial resources to pay the levy.
“This makes it difficult to collect the levy. Also, probate issues, difficult domestic circumstances, complicated family histories, can add to the challenges of collecting the levy.”
Council offers payment plans and “work consistently with site owners to address matters of dereliction and payment of the levy”, they said.
“The year 2020 in particular posed challenges for the collection of the levy. Covid restrictions meant sites could not be inspected to ascertain if still derelict, sites were not redeveloped or sold.” A number of sites on the register are currently for sale, and a significant number are involved in the planning process.
“The levy is generally discharged during the sale process, and some cases its application can act as a catalyst for entry into the planning process. We actively engage with the site representatives in relation to the sale process and the discharge of the levy.
“We also operate a bond option as an alternative to the imposition of a levy on site, this enables us to introduce timescales for the removal of dereliction and a suspension of the levy whilst an agreement is in place.”