Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 1 December 2021
Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government
Planning and Development (Amendment) (Large-scale Residential Development) Bill 2021: Committee Stage
My amendment does not rule out in all circumstances consideration of planning applications where such applications include material contraventions of the development plan. It asserts what is already in the Planning and Development Act, as amended, that is, that such requests to materially contravene development plans should only be made in exceptional circumstances. It goes on to say that, other than in circumstances set out in regulations by the Minister, applicants would have to justify in their application why they are seeking to breach the city or county development plan. The problem is that even though material contraventions are meant to be exceptional, not only have we had a litany of SHD applications that have breached development plans but they have been approved by the board. These were then challenged and overturned in the courts. Despite the fact that the courts overturned these applications, the board continued to approve other proposals for SHDs that included material contraventions of development plans. This amendment aims to reassert the exceptional nature of such contraventions. It gives the Minister the latitude to set out in regulations the circumstances in which these may be justified. The fewer legal challenges there are to decisions, the faster planning permissions get through and homes built. Therefore, if we introduce this additional check where the applicant will have to justify proposals for material contraventions of development plans with regard to regulations set out by the Ministers, the likelihood of judicial reviews being taken and decisions being struck down will be reduced. It would therefore speed up and improve the planning process, thereby delivering much-needed homes.