Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 22 February 2024

Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Planning and Development Bill 2023: Committee Stage (Resumed)

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I certainly take the point on board. The evidence base the Deputy rightly speaks of is at development plan level too. I am going to work on the wording and want to confirm that to members again. All this would allow is flexibility at the local planning application assessment level. The development plan will have been done, it will be consistent with the national planning framework, NPF, and the OPR is still involved. We are talking about existing zoned land that is already agreed and identified for development. This is not on top of that. There could be efficiency, as I mentioned yesterday, within zoned land. Look at the new sustainable growth guidelines for compact growth we have issued, which will be better designed. This committee worked well on them. They can allow better use and higher quality developments. That could lead to those changes. It would also prevent people from sitting on extant permissions. We discussed this at length yesterday. We know many permissions have not been activated for various reasons. In a county plan, on zoned land, another application comes in. I want to guard against it being the sole reason for the refusal of a good application on already identified land.

People will know from their own areas and Dáil constituencies, including Deputy Matthews's county, Wicklow, where we have seen great progress on housing delivery, that there are permissions that will not be activated, but we will have this false ceiling. It is guided by the revised NPF, which will be here, and the county development plans are sacrosanct. This allows flexibility. I will work on the wording. I have taken on board what members have said. I can assure them of that. It can be discussed in advance of Report Stage too. We are dealing with a significant period where we have had pent-up, real demand from people. For ten years up to 2020, we had a significant undersupply of housing. This is not talking about zoning. This is identified land that is already zoned and agreed in the development plan. It would allow that flexibility. I am going to look at the wording and will work with members on that in advance of Report Stage.


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