Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Planning Issues

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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1367. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if a further order will be issued to extend time periods on all planning matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6637/20]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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On 29 March 2020, the Government, following my request and taking account of the considerations under section 251A(5) of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, made an Order under section 251A(3) of that Act which resulted in the extension of time for a range of specified or appropriate periods and timelines in the Planning Acts and associated planning regulations.

In determining the end date of the Order, a number of additional days were added beyond the end of the period of the Government’s public health ‘stay at home’ announcement to facilitate the return to normal business by planning authorities and public communication of revised arrangements in advance of the expiry of the section 251A Order. In this context, the date of 20 April 2020 was specified in the Order as the date on which the period to be disregarded under section 251A(1) of the Planning Act was to end, comprising a period of 23 days.

Arising from the decision of the Government to extend the COVID-19 related measures restricting the movement of the public until 5 May 2020, the Government on 16 April 2020 made an Order under Section 251A(4) of the Planning Act further extending the duration of all relevant periods and timelines specified in planning legislation by an additional 19 days, up to and including 9 May 2020. As the Government has since decided to extend further the COVID-19 related restrictive measures until 18 May 2020, the Government has now made an additional Order under section 251A(4) of the Planning Act extending the duration of all relevant periods and timelines specified in planning legislation by an additional 14 days, up to and including 23 May 2020.

The three Orders have the combined effect of extending the relevant planning periods and timelines by an aggregate of 56 days/8 weeks.  Notifications of these Orders, including reference to an updated FAQ document, have been issued in circular letters to all planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála. The updated FAQ document, relevant Circulars and the Government Orders, as well as additional information, are also available on my Department’s main COVID-19/Planning webpage at:

 

The planning system has a key role to play in the post COVID-19 recovery and as restrictions are unwound, I expect that the latest Order, which is effective until 23 May, will be the last such Order made under section 251A of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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1368. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if amended strategic housing development applications which propose to increase the number of units in previously approved developments must submit subsequent applications to the relevant local authority or An Bord Pleanála, if the proposed increase in units falls below 100 (details supplied); and if it is policy for An Bord Pleanála to accept successive amendments to previously approved strategic housing development applications. [6638/20]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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As part of the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the Act) introduced new streamlined arrangements to enable planning applications for strategic housing developments (SHDs) of 100 housing units or more, or student accommodation or shared accommodation developments of 200 bed spaces or more, to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála (the Board) for determination.

The Planning Code does not prohibit an applicant from submitting a subsequent application for a site which has already been granted planning permission. This subsequent application would be classed as a new application. Under section 4 of the Act, all applications that meet the SHD threshold criteria must be submitted to the Board for consideration. 

Furthermore, under section 146B of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, the Board can also receive and decide upon proposals to amend permissions which have already been granted in respect of SHD proposals. This possibility was not availed of by the developers of the SHD in question. Instead, they decided to submit a new application proposing to add an additional 10 housing units to the permission that had already been previously granted.

Under section 30 of the Act, I am specifically precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála is or may be concerned.

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