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Vacant shops could be converted into housing without planning permission under new rules

This would be the first of a series of planning measures to aid the creation of more housing, Minister Eoghan Murphy said.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

HOUSING MINISTER EOGHAN Murphy is bringing proposals to government that would allow vacant shops to be made into housing without the need for planning permission.

This is the first step towards a set of measures that would aid the delivery of new housing in an attempt to solve the current crisis in the market, the Department of Housing said.

Commenting on the planning permission change, Minister Murphy said this will help to bring more housing to the market quicker, and would “breathe new life into inner-core urban areas” that were affected by the economic downturn.

This change, if passed in the Oireachtas, would follow through on a commitment made in last year’s Rebuilding Ireland initiative.

Other provisions in the Planning Act would also provide exemptions for development by Irish Water related to the provision of water services and the likes of maintenance works.

It would also provide exemptions related to the rollout of the National Broadband Plan and extended mobile phone coverage.

Murphy added: “The Government is fully committed to bringing as many vacant properties as possible back into use and maximising the use of existing resources.

These new regulations will make it easier for property owners to re-imagine the use of vacant and under-used buildings without having to go through the planning process and are the first of a series of measures being developed by my Department to streamline the various regulatory requirements relating to the conversion of vacant spaces for residential use.

His colleague, Minister Damien English, said these regulations would “show how the planning system can be responsive to current needs and demands”.

The government hopes to bring these proposals forward in early 2018 with a view to implementing them as quickly as possible, they added.

Read: ‘Homelessness is not normal’: Effort to kickstart national movement begins with laughter and song outside the Dáil

Read: ‘I was nearly crying when I got accommodation. It’s not just my home, it’s a home for my children’

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Sean Murray

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