Council has to refund €14.1m to developers

by Gazette Reporter
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FINGAL County Council will have to refund €14,118,404 in levies raised for the original Metro North project as a result of the scaled-back Metro North getting the go-ahead.
The funds in question were raised under the Section 49 Supplementary Contribution Scheme, whereby developers are required to pay levies for infrastructural projects which increase the value of their own developments.
For example, the Metro North project is a strong selling point for new housing developments in Swords, due to the speed with which commuters will travel to the city.
A spokesperson for Fingal County Council said: “€14,118,404 has been raised, to date, under the Metro North Section 49 Supplementary Contribution Scheme.
“When further information on the new Metro North scheme is available, it is most likely that the levies collected under the existing scheme will be refunded.”
They said the previous project has been substantially revised so it will be necessary to prepare and adopt a new Section 49 Supplementary Development Contribution Scheme to facilitate charging a supplementary contribution to partly finance the new project.
It is anticipated that the catchment area of the scheme will be broadly in line with the existing one.
Cllr Duncan Smith (Lab) raised the issue recently, pointing out that during the interim of the closure of the old Supplementary Development Contribution account and the opening of a new one, developers will have a window to build developments without having to make contributions which means a substantial loss of revenue for the council.
He said: “It’s important that we get a new Section 49 up as soon as possible, because the Fosterstown local area plan, just south of Swords, has a number of new shopping complexes and that type of thing which would be subject to a new Section 49.
“We need to have one in place in order to get the revenue from developers in order to help fund our local services.”
He said that despite the beliefs of some, Metro North is happening. “I’ve met with Transport Infrastructure Ireland [the State body involved with the development of Metro North] twice since this announcement with Deputy Brendan Ryan (Lab), and we are confident it’s going to happen.”
Cllr Justin Sinnott (Ind) also expressed his apprehension about the fact that the council will have to take €14m out of its budget to refund these levies, and the impact this will have on its ability to provide services.
He said: “The concern is that we have to find this money to repay these levies from the council budget of €214m a year. I’d imagine what will probably happen is that they’ll come to some agreement in terms of paying back that €14m over a longer term.”
The Fingal County Council spokesperson said: “The making of a new scheme involves a considerable level of planning and economic research in addition to public consultation.
“Discussions between Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council have been initiated with Transport Infrastructure Ireland, with a view to having new schemes adopted in both local authorities.
“The setup of the account for the receipt of these development levy monies will be dealt with through the capital account.”

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