Waterford City and County Council has adopted a new Development Contribution Scheme, in line with the Planning & Development Act 2000, which will cover the period from 2023 to 2029.
The scheme, accessible on the Council’s website, sets out the framework for the Planning Authority around financial contributions for provision of ‘public infrastructure and facilities’ when granting planning permission.
The 7-year document sets out the basis for determining these contributions and provides for different contributions for different types of development, as well as, for example, allowing for reduced or no contributions in certain circumstances in order to incentivise developments.
The ‘public infrastructure and facilities’ referred to includes initiatives such as the provision of open spaces, recreational and community facilities, roads, car parks, surface water sewers and flood relief work, bus, cycling and transport lanes and so on – all vital to the sustainable development of an area where people live and work.
Development contributions also go towards traffic calming measures, the refurbishment or upgrading of existing infrastructure, and telecommunications infrastructure.
Speaking following the scheme’s formal adoption by the Plenary Council, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said, “With this new Development Contribution Scheme, we aim to make it easier for developers and business owners to invest in Waterford, while also ensuring that the community benefits from necessary infrastructure.
“One of the key positive messages of this scheme is its highly competitive residential rates. Our Core Strategy Target is to provide a minimum of 4,824 new homes in County Waterford by 2028, and we believe that by simplifying the residential rates and offering a 25% reduction in contribution for average-sized one-off dwellings in the countryside, we will make it more attractive for developers to invest in residential projects.”
The new Development Contribution Scheme includes exemptions for certain types of development to encourage economic activity and align with guidelines set by the government.
These exemptions include, but are not limited to, developments that are non-profit or for community-related use, restoring or reusing old buildings that are protected, developing in certain designated areas, home extensions and garages, social and affordable housing, adapting homes for people with disabilities, and a new exemption for building residential space above a commercial space, known as ‘over the shop living’.
Infrastructure for communications such as masts, dishes and antennae, small scale renewable energy developments, development related to aviation at Waterford Regional Airport and Business Park, charitable and educational institutions, and certain farm developments also fall under exemption rules.
Speaking about the positive impact this scheme will have, Director of Services for Planning, Waterford City and County Council, Kieran Kehoe said, “Waterford is now highly competitive in terms of residential rates when compared with other authorities. This scheme sees a 25% reduction in contributions for average sized one-off dwelling in the countryside and, for example, no contributions applicable for domestic extensions and garages.
“Waterford is very much ‘Open for Business’ and with this Development Contribution Scheme, Waterford City has the most competitive commercial development contribution rate of all the cities in Ireland, making it even easier for commercial developers to invest in the county, while also ensuring that the community benefits from necessary infrastructure upgrades.
“Overall, the Development Contribution Scheme is a balanced approach that considers the needs of developers, business owners, and the community and we believe that it will make Waterford an even more attractive location for investment and development.”
For more on the new Development Contribution Scheme, see the appropriate section on the Council’s website at https://www.waterfordcouncil.ie/departments/planning/development-contributions.htm