The Supply of Serviced Land in Larger* Urban Centres
A3.1 The Committee requested information from the Department of the Environment in relation to “existing land banks of serviced land in major centres, whether acquired by local authorities or not, which remain undeveloped”. Information in this regard was obtained by the Department from the major urban centres.
A3.2 The information requested of the urban authorities related to the amount of serviced land available for development on 31 December, 1982. The expression “serviced land” in this context means land which is or can be readily connected to either existing main drainage and public water supply systems having adequate treatment capacity, or to schemes under construction as on 31 December, 1982. It was pointed out that this definition excludes lands which are only partially serviced or which are serviced by systems with inadequate treatment works and, therefore, tends to understate the availability of serviced land.
A3.3 Table A3.1 sets out the reported position in the urban centres. It indicates a total of 5,230 acres of serviced land for housing purposes (private and public) and 1,930 acres for industrial and other purposes. The table includes land within the urban area (as statutorily defined) and land in its environs (where information was provided).
A3.4 It was noted, however, that special difficulties apply in relation to the county boroughs in that the major part of development affecting them takes place outside their functional areas, except in the case of Waterford County Borough the functional area of which was significantly expanded by way of boundary extension in 1980. Factors such as the development of satellite towns and differences of definition regarding catchment areas make it impractical to provide a simple indication of the amount of undeveloped serviced land in the environs of the largest urban centres. Information is available in relation to the county boroughs of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford and some information is also available in relation to the development land in the environs of these areas. Some particular points of interest are:—
The entire area of the county borough of Dublin must be regarded as fully serviced. An area of approximately 120 acres is at present held by Dublin Corporation within its functional area for housing purposes. This comprises two large sites at Finglas and Marino and a number of smaller sites capable of accommodating not more than twenty houses each. It is understood that virtually all land zoned for industrial purposes is already developed, although there would be scope for expansion of industries on developed sites. Any other undeveloped land in the city area would generally be in the nature of land held pending site assembly or redevelopment (e.g. Gardiner Street area, George’s Quay), amenity areas (e.g. Phoenix Park, golf courses, sports fields) and lands attached to hospitals or religious communities which are unlikely to become available for development in the short term.
A comprehensive study of industrial land in Dublin County was carried out by Dublin County Council in October, 1981. The survey showed that a total of 850 acres of serviced land was available for industrial purposes at that time and that a further 1,020 acres of industrial land would be serviced within five years. It is also understood from Dublin County Council that an estimated 2,500 acres of serviced land are available for housing purposes and would be capable of accommodating approximately 25,000 houses. (This appears to be based on a straight estimate of 10 houses per acre.)
Dun Laoghaire Borough
The entire area of Dun Laoghaire Borough can be regarded as fully serviced. The current draft development plan (dated 9 August, 1983) for Dun Laoghaire Borough indicates an area of undeveloped land, zoned for residential purposes, capable of accommodating 1,200 housing units and indicates this to be adequate in the short term for the borough’s housing needs. There are, in addition, 320 acres of institutional land, some of which may be developed.
The draft development plan indicates that most of the industrial and warehousing activities are concentrated within an area of 70 acres currently zoned for industrial purposes with little room for expansion. In order to be self-sufficient in relation to industry, the borough would need considerably more industrial land, but there could be no major increase in the allocation of land for industry due to the scarcity of land suitable for industrial purposes and the demand for other uses. There is, however, an area of approximately 350 acres of land zoned for industrial purposes in Dublin County close to Dun Laoghaire Borough.
Returns provided by Cork Corporation indicate that at 31 December, 1982, there were 14 acres of land for residential purposes in local authority ownership and a further 120 acres and 100 acres for residential and industrial purposes, respectively, in private ownership. This represents a total of 234 acres of serviced land available for development within the county borough. Information is not at present available in relation to the amount of serviced land available in the county area adjacent to Cork City.
A3.5 Apart from serviced land as defined above, land banks held by local authorities also include areas of unserviced land. In order to give a better picture of the full extent of advance acquisition of land by local authorities, information is also given in Table A3.2 of land held by them for housing purposes. At the end of 1982, this amounted to sites for 58,600 houses (compared with 79,300 in 1977). The table also shows average annual housing output by local authorities and it can be seen that a very wide range exists between different local authorities in terms of future land supply. Much of the lands involved, however, might not be capable of being developed for many years, due to the absence of services or the need to carry out other site development works.
Availability of Undeveloped Serviced Land in Main Urban Centres* (Acres)
A3.6 The IDA also operates in a manner similar to local authorities by advance acquisition of land. The Department of Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism has stated that the IDA land bank in March, 1982 amounted to 5,850 acres. This includes 2,000 acres purchased as strategic sites for major industries with special site requirements, some 2,200 acres located in 15 major centres and 1,650 acres for 139 nominated towns. These figures include both serviced and unserviced land.
Land held by Local Authorities for Housing Purposes
* Populations in excess of 15,000.
* with populations over 15,000.
* Excluding sites on which the construction of houses has commenced, but including a small number of sites held for one-off private houses.
The statistics given in this table relate to the position at 31 December in each year in relation to (a) the four county borough corporations, (b) the seven borough corporation, (c) the three largest urban district councils (i.e. with populations in excess of 15,000) and (d) all other urban district councils and county councils.