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Guidelines for one-off homes in rural Ireland to go for public consultation before Christmas

The last guidelines on rural housing were issued in 2005.

GUIDELINES FOR RURAL housing set to go to public consultation soon will include the right to build your own home in remote areas and in rural Ireland if people have a work or family reason to do so.

One-off housing has been a thorny issue for the coalition partners in Government, with the Green Party understood to be strongly opposed to building large numbers of one-off rural homes due the impact it might have on the environment, instead favouring houses being built on serviced sites.

However, a number of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs see such house developments as just one part of the solution.

Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke has today said significant work has gone into balancing the right to build one-off homes in rural Ireland in a sustainable manner. 

“There has been much commentary of late about the banning of rural one-off housing and since my appointment, I have been determined to put in place new guidelines which clarify that there will be absolutely no such ban,” Burke said. 

The last guidelines on rural housing were issued in 2005.

“There has been an absence of policy in the interim which has often meant housing authorities have been unsure how to proceed through the development management process,” Burke said.

The new guidelines are set to go out for public consultation before Christmas.

Burke confirmed new rural housing guidelines will include the right to build your own home in remote areas and in rural Ireland if people have a work or family reason to do so.

“The new guidelines clearly state that those who have a need to build their own home in rural Ireland will be permitted to do so if they have a clear economic or social need,” the Minister said.

“An economic need could be those who work in rural Ireland, whether this be on a farm or in a rural-based enterprise. An example of a social need could be if a person or family comes from the area, or have been living there for the last ten to fifteen years.

“The same safeguards will still be in place in terms of site suitability. There are also certain areas very close to large towns that are unsuitable for rural housing so there will be a scale introduced in each county, highlighting the areas that are under significant pressure from urban influence and overspill, down to remote areas where there will be less restrictions placed on those who want to build,” Burke added.

He said that as every area is different geographically, planning authorities will be able to show discretion in order to get the right balance.

“While rural housing cannot be permitted in every area for every person, those who have a genuine need must be given the option to live where they come from, to continue to work on the land, develop rural Ireland and keep our towns and villages strong and vibrant places,” Burke said. 

“The planning authorities in each area will be updating their rural housing policies to take cognisance of these new guidelines once they are finalised. An Bord Pleanála too will take these guidelines into account when adjudicating on appeals.” 

With reporting by Christina Finn

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