Vacant shops to be turned into homes without planning permission

Minister for Housing to include relevant changes as part of the Planning Act

Eoghan Murphy: the Minister for Housing  will announce proposals  to exempt a number of developments from planning permissions to help tackle the housing crisis.   Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Eoghan Murphy: the Minister for Housing will announce proposals to exempt a number of developments from planning permissions to help tackle the housing crisis. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Empty shops and other commercial units, as well as vacant properties above shops, will be allowed to be redeveloped for residential use without the need for planning permission, under new proposals.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy will announce proposals on Thursday to exempt a number of developments from planning permissions to help tackle the housing crisis.

Under the new regulations – which will need to be passed by the Oireachtas – the redevelopment of so-called “over the shop” units will be allowed without planning permission.

The changes to be introduced as part of the Planning Act will also exempt developments by Irish Water on new water infrastructure and maintenance of existing systems. Certain works to be undertaken as part of the national broadband plan, as well as works on extending mobile phone coverage, will not need planning permission either.

Mr Murphy said the move on “above the shop” premises will “make it easier for property owners to reimagine the use of vacant and under-used buildings without having to go through the planning process”.

He said it is “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”.

Damien English, the Minister of State in the Department of Housing, said the changes will also “support Irish Water in the efficient delivery of the vital service that it provides”.

“They will assist in the accelerated roll-out of broadband and mobile services, in urban and particularly in rural areas, as envisaged by the Action Plan for Rural Development; and critically they will facilitate the re-use of the many vacant buildings in our cities and towns for housing purposes.”