25/06/2020 - 06:20
By Kevin O'Neill
Development charges on new houses and apartments in Cork city will be halved under new measures to motivate construction.
Cork City Council is proposing a 50% reduction in the charge as part of the new Cork City Development Plan. Charges on agricultural and manufacturing buildings will also be reduced by 80% and 66.6% respectively, bringing them in line with Cork County Council rates.
Government strategies envision the population of the city and suburbs growing to 125,000 by 2040.
"If Cork city is to realise these goals and become a genuine internationally competitive city then significant residential development is required," said Fearghal Reidy, City Hall's director of strategic and economic development.
The charge will drop from €53.1250 per sq m to €26.5625. City officials said this is considered enough to support development while not undermining City Hall's delivery of infrastructure.
The rate cut will cover houses and apartments, including build-to-rent, but not student accommodation or extensions to existing developments. It applies only to developments that have not yet commenced.
Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said the move is designed to boost residential development: "The hope is that by cutting this, those responsible for building will be in a position to build more homes and pass the savings on to people looking to buy."
Conor O'Connell of the Construction Industry Federation said the move is "a realignment" of a charge which "increased overnight" when the city boundary was extended in 2019. In areas like Douglas and Ballincollig, charges increased from the County Council rate of €24.49 per sq m to city rates of €53.
Mr O'Connell said issues such as VAT and water charges are far more pressing for developers, but said he welcomes the decision: "It all helps."