Dublin City Council is fining itself nearly €1m for failing to develop its lands as part of the first levies to be imposed as a result of the Vacant Sites Register.

The council has incurred three of the four heaviest fines for failing to start the regeneration of two sites involved in the O'Devaney Gardens project and one which is  part of St Teresa's Gardens.

The only other body facing a levy is the Benburb Street Property Company a subsidiary of the Law Society of Ireland which has been issued with a demand for €259,500 for a site which has planning permission for 166 apartments.

Chairperson of the council's Planning Committee Cllr Andrew Montague (Lab) said the levies have to be strict to encourage landowners including state bodies to move faster in developing their lands.

He said that the money from the levies will be ringfenced for housing.

The most valuable site on the register is the former CIE lands in Cabra worth €28.5m which have planning permission for 420 homes. However, the developer Crekav Trading Ltd has appealed the site's inclusion on the register to An Bord Pleanála.

Crekav Trading faces a levy of 3% of value or €855,000 if that appeal fails. Its permission to develop lands adjacent to St Anne's Park, Raheny was overturned following a planning appeal by local residents.

Other sites on the list of the ten most valuable sites released to the council's Planning Committee have since been sold. These include two sites that are part of the St Teresa's Gardens regeneration.

The former Bailey Gibson site worth €12.5m which had permission refused for apartment blocks with 270 units along with retail development has been sold to the investment fund CWTC Multi Family ICAV.

Also connected to St Teresa's is the former John Players site worth €23.8m which has permission for 484 apartments and retail development. It was also bought by the same fund.

The levies were imposed after a warning from the city council issued before June 2018.

If the sites are still vacant next year the levies will more than double to 7% of value.

The city council has itself incurred levies totalling €889,500 in respect of the former Boys Brigade Pitches which are part of St Teresa's Gardens' development and the O'Devaney Gardens site along with another site on Montpelier Hill connected to that project.

However the council has escaped a levy for the Dominick St regeneration lands as construction has started on the building of 72 social homes with an official sod turning ceremony due to take place tomorrow.

In total there are 72 properties on the vacant register in Dublin City with 20 belonging to the council.