‘Use it or lose it’ planning legislation


Sir, – It is now being proposed to bring forward legislation to “use it or lose it” in terms of planning permissions for residential developments that are not commenced within a certain timeframe (“‘Use it or lose it’ law being drafted for planning permissions”, News, November 10th).

This is nonsensical as there is no evidence provided by the Department of Housing to prove that such a mechanism would encourage land developers to build housing on land they have planning permission for.

Nor does it seem there is evidence as to why only 29 per cent of permissions are commenced, as stated by a departmental official speaking at the recent sitting of the Housing Joint Oireachtas Committee.

This would seem to be a poorly thought-out plan that is not based on the available evidence.

It will not encourage the development of housing land but will hold up the delivery of much-needed residential development during what we know to be a crisis in the provision of public and affordable housing.

The department officials would be best advised to ascertain why there is only a 29 per cent commencement of house building via the strategic housing development (SHD) process and not use more stick than carrot to encourage house builders instead of bullying them.

In fairness to An Bord Pleanála, it has risen to the task set by the Government to fast-track planning permissions for housing, and the evidence exists in the figures provided that this process has delivered on the objectives set out.

Now we have a situation whereby the strategic housing development process will be scrapped and there will be an introduction of “use it or lose it” legislation into the planning system.

If this is a response to political pressure on the matter, I would fear that when the political class involves itself in the Irish planning system, it never ends well for the public.

We can revisit this conversation in 10 years, when departmental officials and the minister for housing are sitting in the Custom House scratching their heads wondering why there is still a housing provision crisis. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.