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Housing minister publishes emergency legislation to close planning permission 'blunder'

An issue had arisen whereby planning permission granted for large-scale housing developments during the recession could run out, forcing workers to down tools.

Updated 3.55pm

File Photo Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said the Government is going to miss its deadline of 1 July for moving homeless families Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy published the emergency legislation today. Source: Leah Farrell via Rollingnews.ie

HOUSING MINISTER EOGHAN Murphy has published a new bill which provides for second extensions of planning permission in certain circumstances, after a flaw in existing legislation was highlighted by Fianna Fáil.

In a statement, the Minister said that the provisions of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2017 are essential in allowing developers to complete unfinished housing developments.

Murphy said: “The legislation I brought to Cabinet today will allow for an extension of certain planning deadlines. There are approximately 75 developments throughout the country awaiting commencement of these planning provisions.

In the absence of this legislation work would stop on all relevant sites across the country. Today’s action helps deliver more homes and increases much needed housing supply.

An issue has arisen whereby planning permission granted for large-scale housing developments during the recession could expire, forcing construction workers to down tools.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Housing Barry Cowen pointed out the legislative blunder over the weekend. He highlighted an issue in the Planning and Development and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, which passed all stages just before Christmas.

The error within the legislation means that planning permission for many housing developments that are currently under construction cannot be extended, which could delay the construction of hundreds of new homes.

Planning permission

These are housing or apartment developments of more than 20 units, which were granted original planning permission just before, or just after, the housing market crashed in 2009.

Murphy sought the approval of the Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2017 today to ensure second extensions of planning permissions can be granted in certain circumstances.

It’s understood this is vital if developers are to complete unfinished housing developments.

In the absence of this legislation, builders would be legally required to cease work until they obtained further extensions, delaying the completion of relevant housing developments and prevent delivery of much needed housing supply.

Cowen said builders on these developments have been waiting anxiously since Christmas for a provision to give developments a second planning extension.

“This is an amazing level of disorganisation from the Government, on an error which Fianna Fáil discovered and has been pointing out to the Department since early April,” said Cowen.

This emergency bill is being prepared to enact the relevant provisions before the Dáil goes on its summer recess at the end of next week.

With reporting from Sean Murray

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