Developers can build with expiring planning under new Bill

Minister to fast-track provision in legislation to be introduced, debated, passed next week

New legislation will allow developers complete unfinished housing developments in cases which might otherwise require new planning permission.

New legislation will allow developers complete unfinished housing developments in cases which might otherwise require new planning permission.

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Planning permissions at risk of expiry while homes are under construction will be extended under legislation to be introduced, discussed and passed next week.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has told the Dáil he will fast-track the provision, which was originally part of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill.

But Mr Murphy said there was no way the Bill, currently before the Dáil, would pass all stages in the Oireachtas by the summer recess next week.

It will allow developers complete unfinished housing developments in cases which might otherwise require new planning permission.

A number of developments were halted during the economic collapse and their planning permission is close to expiry. This provision will allow works to continue. Without the provision builders would have to down tools until they obtained new planning permission from local authorities.

The new Minister for Housing told the Dáil that “the Fianna Fáil party made a number of good proposals which we want to introduce as amendments” and as a result “I decided to take the specific provision in the Bill that pertained to the extension of planning permission and have it implemented by the recess”.

The Minister stressed he would consider all ideas and none would be taken off the table until they had been “thoroughly stress tested”. He said “I do not care whose ideas they are or what motivates them. If they work, they work.”

During the debate on the quarterly report of Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s strategy to deal with the housing crisis and homelessness, the Minister acknowledged the failure to meet the target end-of-June deadline to end the provision of emergency accommodation in hotels and bed and breakfasts.

He said the June target “was ambitious but necessary” and drove a major effort to help families. He added that 1,200 families had been helped in the past 12 months.

“My first target is to prevent families from entering hotels and find them other accommodation including hubs. While hubs are not a long-term answer, they are better than hotels and are only a first response.”

The Government’s “family hub” plan is converting nine properties to house 380 families living in emergency accommodation.

Mr Murphy said an extra €10 million had been allocated to build new hubs for more than 200 families.

He said his second target was to get families out of emergency hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation.

He said that of the 650 families in such accommodation at the end of May, one third had been offered sustainable long-term homes, one third had been offered accommodation in hubs and one third had been offered housing assistance payment solutions.

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