New Proposals to Allow Commercial Premises Change to Residential

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government recently announced proposals to amend the Exempted Development provisions of the Planning and Development Regulations to amend the exempted development provisions to bring vacant commercial premises into residential use as a mechanism for reducing the housing shortage.

The proposals, announced on the 14th of December, are a first step in the approval process for the relevant regulations, as set out in the Planning Act, which requires the draft regulations to be referred to an Oireachtas Committee for its consideration with a view to their subsequent approval by both Houses by way of positive resolution before they can be signed into law by the Minister.

The Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) allows the Minister to make regulations to render certain forms of development as exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission. In this regard the current proposed draft exempted development regulations refer to three different elements, as follows:

  • 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 for residential use (subject to certain limitations), 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

The central element of the proposed regulation alterations is aimed at facilitating the change of use of certain types of vacant buildings to bring them back into productive use as homes. While the proposals still have to undergo discussion and review by the Joint Oireachtas Committee in early 2018, the Minister has stated that he intends to bring the new provisions into operation as soon as possible.

Further details are available on the Departments website at: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/exempted-development/new-proposals-bring-above-shop-premises-use-homes

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