Minister Damien English introduces New Planning Regulations

Action Plan for Housing

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English, T.D., today (8 February 2018) signed three new sets of exempted development regulations.

The Planning Act provides that the Minister may make regulations to provide that certain classes of development be exempted from the requirement to obtain planning permission, thereby streamlining and creating efficiencies in the planning system but also reducing the regulatory and administrative burden on those undertaking such works.

As required under the Planning Act, the regulations received a positive resolution from both Houses of the Oireachtas on 25 January 2018.

The new regulations now provide for the following exemptions:

  • 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,
  • the change of use, and any related works, relating to the conversion of vacant commercial premises – including “over the shop” type premises – for residential use, on foot of the commitment in Rebuilding Ireland in this regard, and
  • 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.

Minister English said “Following detailed engagement with the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government and with Oireachtas members last week, I am pleased to sign these regulations and bring the new planning provisions into force.”

“These are important regulations which are intended to benefit and have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. For example, reliable mobile and broadband service across the country is essential in our modern lives and the regulations will assist in the accelerated roll-out of the National Broadband Plan and support the provision of enhanced mobile phone services, particularly in rural and remote areas. The regulations will also support Irish Water in the efficient delivery of the vital service that it provides and allow it to respond quickly in emergency situations to ensure the continued supply of essential water services”, he continued.

Minister English highlighted, “The regulations relating to the change of use of vacant buildings for residential purposes are vitally important and have three-fold benefits – firstly, facilitating the bringing on stream of urgently needed housing supply in high demand areas; secondly, maximising the use of vacant underutilised spaces; and thirdly, rejuvenating and breathing new life into inner-core urban areas in towns and cities. I hope that as many property owners of vacant premises around the country will utilise these provisions as soon as possible.”

The new regulations will be available on the Department’s website and on the electronic statute book.


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