New Extension of Duration Provisions for Housing Developments

On the 26th of July 2017 the Minister signed two statutory instruments that bring into operation new planning legislation providing, in specified circumstances, for further extensions of duration of planning permissions for certain developments of 20 houses or more. The two statutory instruments are: 

  • the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (Commencement of Section 28(2)) Order 2017, and
  • the Planning and Development (Amendment) Regulations 2017, which prescribe procedural matters relating to applications for further extensions of duration for qualifying housing developments

The statutory instruments enact the emergency Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2017 (the 2017 Act) that was rushed through the Houses of the Oireachtas earlier this month to alter/update anomalies in the original provisions as set out in the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the 2016 Act). In this regard it is important to note that the wording of the original 2016  Act has been updated by the 2017 Act and it is this newer wording that has now been enacted. The net effect of the new measures is to allow additional time - up to the end of 2021 at the latest - to complete housing developments on which substantial work is done during the extended duration of the planning permissions concerned, the aim being to increase much-needed housing supply while limiting the need to undergo a further planning application process.

Both the signed instruments come into operation on Wednesday the 9th of August, 2017.

Under the new legislation, the durations of planning permissions for certain developments of 20 houses that have already been extended under section 42 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 may, on application by the developer to the planning authority concerned, be extended for a further period.  The duration of the further extension cannot exceed 5 years or extend beyond 31 December 2021, whichever first occurs.

A further extension of duration of the permission cannot be granted where an environmental impact assessment or an appropriate assessment was required before permission was granted for the development concerned.  In addition, the planning authority must be satisfied that:

(a)     the development commenced and substantial works were carried out before the expiry of the duration or extended duration of the planning permission,

(b)     a further extension of duration is required to enable the development to be completed, and

(c)     the application for a further extension is in accordance with the relevant planning Regulations and that any other requirements of those regulations are complied with.

There are important timing issues to consider in relation to the new process, surrounding the operational date of the new provisions (i.e. 9th of August 2017). An application for a further extension of the duration of a planning permission for a qualifying housing development that expires on or after 9 August 2017 must be made within the last year of the extended duration of the permission and before that extended duration expires.  Thus, applicants seeking further extensions of duration of planning permissions for qualifying developments that are due to expire on or soon after 9 August should take preparatory steps to ensure that they can submit their formal applications to the planning authority concerned as soon as the new measures come into force.

In the case where the extended duration of a planning permission for a qualifying housing development expired or will expire between 19 July 2016 (publication date of Rebuilding Ireland document) and 8 August 2017 (both dates inclusive), an application for a further extension of the duration of the permission must be made within the six-month period commencing on 9 August 2017.  This is a special arrangement to boost housing supply by retrospectively extending certain expired permissions to facilitate completion of developments on which substantial work has been carried out.

Should the extant Extension of Duration of a permission cease to have effect on the 9th of August 2017, to take advantage of the new system an application for a further extension of duration of the permission would have to be lodged with the relevant Authority by the 9th of August. However, an extant Extension of Duration of a permission which ceases of have effect on the 8th of August would have a period of 6 months to lodge a further extension.

Under section 251 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, the period between 24 December and the first day of January, both days inclusive, are disregarded in calculating the duration of a planning permission or other time limit referred to in the 2000 Act or in Regulations made under it.

A fee of €62.00 is payable to the planning authority in respect of an application to further extend the duration of a planning permission.

For further information on the provisions of this new legislation and its relevance to any housing project, contact our Planning Team on 091 735611.

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