Under the terms of the scheme, developers seeking permission for strategic housing developments (SHDs) of 100 units or more are no longer required to apply to their respective local authorities in the first instance, but can instead apply directly to An Bord Pleanala.
A planning application for more than 100 homes in Bearna will be made later this month directly to An Bord Pleanála under new fast-tracking legislation – understood to be the first of its kind outside Dublin.
If approved, the development on the 18-acre site on the Bearna-Moycullen road would create up to 100 jobs during construction. Galway-based Burkeway Homes will be making the application under the new ‘Strategic Housing Development’ regulations which came into effect on July 3. It is understood that just one other such application has been made in the country to date.
The legislation – drawn up last year by the then Housing Minister Simon Coveney in a bid to tackle the housing crisis – can be used by a developer planning 100 or more houses or for student accommodation with more than 200 bed spaces (where the land is appropriately zoned).
They must first hold pre-consultation meetings with their local planning authority, then with An Bord Pleanála and then submit the application directly to the Board. By that stage, the Board will have received the opinion of the local authority.
Within six weeks of receiving the application, the Board will convene a consultation with the applicant and the local council, and issue its decision within three weeks of that. During the process, submissions can be made by members of the public.
It is anticipated that a decision on the Bearna application will be made before the end of this year, and if approved, work could begin next year, with between 80 and 100 jobs created.
Public Consultation – Review of the planning provisions regarding Strategic Housing Developments
The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the 2016 Act) introduced new streamlined arrangements, for a limited time-period, to enable fast-track planning applications for strategic housing developments (SHDs) of 100 or more housing units, or student accommodation of 200 or more bed spaces, or shared accommodation developments of 200 or more bed spaces, to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála (the Board) for determination.
The primary purpose of the arrangements is to signiﬁcantly speed up the planning decision-making process for SHD proposals, thereby providing greater certainty for developers in terms of the timeframes within which proposals for such developments can be determined in the planning system, while also fully respecting the statutory requirements for public consultation and regard being had to observations submitted, with a view to ultimately facilitating increased housing supply delivery in accordance with proper planning and development.
Under section 4(2) of the 2016 Act, the SHD provisions apply for an initial period, until the end of 2019. In accordance with the Act, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government may, by order, extend that period by a further limited period of 2 years, up to the end of 2021, to coincide with the end timeframe of Rebuilding Ireland. However, prior to the making of such an order, and not later than 30 October 2019, the 2016 Act requires that the Minister review the operation and eﬀectiveness of the SHD arrangements and lay before both Houses of the Oireachtas a report of the conclusions of the review.
In light of the foregoing, Mr. Eoghan Murphy, T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government has recently established a Review Group to review the operation and eﬀectiveness of the SHD provisions and to report back to him by end September 2019.
To augment the work of the Review Group, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is now launching a public consultation oﬀering relevant stakeholders, including the general public, the opportunity to make written submissions on the SHD arrangements which will be forwarded to the Review Group for its consideration.
How to get involved?
Make a Submission
This public consultation will run until close of business on 25 July 2019.
I wonder what pressures are being brought to bear on An Bord Pleanala to allow developments? I have read about some dubious decisions from them in recent times, including overriding the concerns of their own appointed professional planning inspectors, as in the recent decision over a development at Bulloch Harbour
A double whammy for Coolock this week. Two major apartment developments are approved under the strategic housing scheme by an Bord Planala despite the objections of the local planners.
The locals might be NIMBYs but I think the local planners raised valid objections to these schemes. Firstly, the buildings are “monolithic” in the sense that there is no mixture of housing types or of building structures There are simply the maximum number of identical blocks squeezed onto the available land. Secondly, there is no infrastructure planned to support the new community and, especially, the transport infrastructure is lacking while the new residents will have to travel to work because there is little local employment.