The council voted to reduce the development levies in a bid to boost the flagging construction sector

SOUTH Dublin County Council this week voted to reduce development levies in the county in a bid to boost the flagging construction sector.
The plan, which was on public display until December, calls for a reduction of 26% on levies, even after an increase in development income in 2012.
A total of €3.5 million was collected last year, an increase of 30% on 2011, but still some way shy of 2004’s figure, which was well in excess of €6 million.
The new draft scheme proposes a levy on non-residential development of €81.65 per square metre, reduced from the current rate of €111, representing the reversal of a previous 2009 increase in the levy. The draft scheme also proposes a levy on residential development of €88.27 per square metre, reduced from the current rate of €120.
This scheme also includes a number of exemptions aimed at supporting small businesses which wish to develop or extend their premises.
Last year, the council’s economic development policy committee agreed to review the development contribution scheme. A sub-group of the committee met regularly with local business leaders to thrash out a new scheme.
This  work was informed by an independent consultant’s review of the current development levy scheme.
Last October the Economic Development policy committee recommended a revised scheme which was subsequently published for public consultation. On foot of this consultation council management have now adopted the draft scheme and the matter was passed in the council chambers on Monday.
The move was welcomed widely, with Cllr William Lavelle (FG) saying the reduction would encourage business in the county.
“I  warmly welcome the proposal to reduce these levies, in particular the proposed reversal of the 2009 increase in levies on commercial development.
“I believe that in reducing these levies we will be sending out a strong message that south Dublin County is open for business and investment.”
However, Cllr Eamon Tuffy (Lab) said that he did not expect massive changes in the pace of development with the introduction of the new measures.
“I hope that it will encourage development or re-development, but I don’t think it will be very dramatic,” he said.