Building slump blow to Council cash
By SIOBHÁN HOLLIMAN
THE income to Galway Co Council as a result of the construction industry plummeted by a dramatic 85 per cent in just four years.
The amount of money handed over by developers and individuals relating to planning applications peaked in 2006 at a whopping €16.6 million but within four years this fell to just €2.3 million for 2010.
The massive drop in the amount collected in development contributions to Galway Co Council is also reflected in the number of planning applications lodged with the local authority. Application numbers peaked in 2006 at 5,575 and this number had dropped to just 1,644 by the end of 2010.
Pick up in 2011
Surprisingly though last year, the planning situation appeared to pick up slightly for Co Galway.
There was a slight increase in the number of planning applications presented to the local authority. In 2011 there were 1,777 applications made, up 133. However it’s understood that many of the planning applications made over the past 18 months relate to extending the time on projects previously granted.
The planning department at County Hall also confirmed to The Herald that the amount raised through development contributions also rose during 2011 compared to 2010. Last year’s total of €3.486 million was up by just over €1 million on the amount collected in 2010 – an indication that there was some positive movement on construction projects around the county last year.
However figures released this week measuring the current activity in the construction sector indicate that last year’s increases might not hold again for this year.
Data from www.link2 plans.com shows that the number of planning applications made to the Galway planning authorities during the first five months of this year is down 18 per cent compared to last year.
Building activity, which began to nosedive significantly in the county in 2008, is still in decline. The number of construction starts in the county so far this year is already down by nearly a third on the first five months of last year.
This is considerably lower than project commencements nationally, which are down by 13 per cent as of the end of April.
Over the past ten years, Galway Co Council has seen both a dramatic upturn and reduction in the amount of development contributions it has received.
In 2003 it received €6.2 million and this amount had doubled in just two years when in 2005 the figure amounted to €12,589,385. The figure jumped again the following year, reaching its highest to date at €16.659 million, before dropping considerably in 2007 to €10.7 million and to €7 million in 2008. It reached its lowest figure for seven years in 2010 when the development contributions amounted to €2.3 million, seven times less than it received just four years earlier and three times less than what it took in during 2003. Last year’s total was €3.486 million.
According to the housing construction index compiled by researchers at www.link2plans.com, Galway is now one of the poorest performing counties in planning commencements.
Managing Director of Link2Plans Danny O’Shea says the figures clearly show the current patterns of activity.
“When we examine planning applications across every county, effectively we are taking the sentiment of the housing construction activity at any given time. New planning applications are therefore what we would describe as a real time barometer to sentiment in the sector. Correspondingly, housing commencement notices, that we collate, are a real time count of actual, on the ground activity in the housing construction sector, which includes multi-unit residential developments, one-off housing (self-build) and one-off housing extensions,” he explained.