New levy to be charged on vacant sites.

A new levy will be charged to developers with vacant sites or empty shops starting at 3 percent of the cost of the land, and rising.

Major planning reforms have been announced by the government, which also include a requirement to provide up to 10 per cent social housing in a development while removing the ability of builders to buy their way out of it.

The draft legislation also introduces a new “use it or lose it” clause, which means builders must develop a site within a time frame or they'll lose their planning permission.

The Minister for the Environment, Portroe’s Alan Kelly, says the vacant site levy will apply to both empty land and retail space and will likely be introduced early next year.

“It'll be a 3 percent levy which will be increased every year up until 6 percent charged on the owners” he said.

“It will stimulate them to actually develop the sites; the charge will be there until they sell the sites or so something with them, and be charged against the property”.

“We can't have these sites lying dormant” he added.