Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
68. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she has held discussions with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage on the topic of one-off housing planning; her views on whether banning one-off housing in rural Ireland will have a detrimental impact on rural community development; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43977/20]
My Department is currently finalising a new rural development policy for the coming five years. The new policy will be forward-looking and ambitious and will build on the progress achieved through the Action Plan for Rural Development which concluded in 2019.
The policy will seek to strengthen our rural economies and communities, and will include policy measures to achieve these objectives through a whole-of-Government approach.
The process of developing the policy has included a wide range of consultation events with key stakeholders, Government Departments including the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, State agencies, rural stakeholder groups, young people, and the wider public. Their insights and views have helped to identify the issues that matter to people living and working in rural Ireland and this input is being factored in to the drafting of the policy.
I have also discussed the development of the policy with some of my Cabinet colleagues, including the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
The National Planning Framework recognises the importance of planning for the growth and development of rural areas and there are guidelines on the building of one-off houses in rural areas. I discussed with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the need for these guidelines to be applied in a consistent manner across all Local Authority areas.
We should strive for an appropriate, responsible and sustainable balance to rural development in line with the National Planning Framework, while recognising the diversity of rural places.