Vacant shops could be turned into homes to tackle the housing shortage across Meath and Ireland – English

Friday, 15th December 2017

Vacant shops could soon be turned into homes to help tackle the
housing shortage in Meath and Ireland.

This is the proposal of local Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal
and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English which was brought forward
to Government during the week so that vacant commercial premises can
be made into housing without the need for planning permission.

Minister English said: “These draft regulations, if approved by the
Oireachtas, will allow the conversion of certain vacant commercial
premises here in Meath such as empty retail units and “over the shop”
type spaces to homes without the need for planning permission.

“This will have the dual benefit of creating urgently needed housing
supply in high demand areas, while at the same time breathing new life
into our towns and urban areas- many of which have been adversely
affected by the economic downturn.

“Fine Gael in Government, and myself and Minister Murphy in our
Department are fully committed to bringing as many vacant properties
as possible back into use and maximising the use of existing
resources.”

“These new regulations, brought forward by myself and my colleague
Minister Eoghan Murphy, will make it easier for property owners to
re-imagine the use of vacant and under-used buildings without having
to go through the planning process.

“These are the first of a series of measures being developed by my
Department to streamline the various regulatory requirements relating
to the conversion of vacant spaces for residential use”.

“We want to once again show how the planning system can be responsive
to current needs and demands, by removing the need for planning
consent where appropriate and thereby provide greater efficiencies in
the system.

“All elements of the three sets of proposals brought forward today
have the potential to have a very real and positive impact on the
people of Meath and beyond.

“The Joint Oireachtas Committee will discuss these proposals in early
2018 so that the new provisions can be brought into operation as soon
as possible” concluded Minister English.

ENDS

Note to Editors:

The Planning Act provides that the Minister may make regulations to
provide that certain classes of development shall be exempted from the
requirement to obtain planning permission.  The three sets of draft
exempted development regulations now proposed relate to exemptions
for:

Ø  development by Irish Water related to the provision of water
services and the undertaking of normal day to day activities relating
to same, such as maintenance type works,

Ø  the change of use, and any related works, relating to the
conversion of vacant commercial premises for residential use (subject
to certain limitations), on foot of the commitment in Rebuilding
Ireland in this regard, and

Ø  amending existing provisions relating to certain works by statutory
undertakers in providing telecommunications services, to support the
rollout of the National Broadband Plan and extended mobile phone
coverage.

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