Minister Eoghan Murphy publishes urgent Planning Bill to provide for second extension to planning permissions
Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government today (5th July 2017) published the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2017 which provides for second extensions of planning permissions in certain circumstances. This provision is very significant in enabling Developers to complete unfinished housing developments.
The emergency Bill is being prepared to enact the relevant provision before summer recess to ensure that extensions to planning permissions are legislatively provided for in a timely manner, allowing developers to complete unfinished housing estates under certain circumstances.
Minister Murphy said “Many construction projects were put on hold during the financial crisis. As the economy began to recover much needed housing developments came up against planning deadlines for completion. The legislation I brought to Cabinet today will allow for an extension of certain planning deadlines. There are approximately seventy five 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”.
Notes for Editors
Pillar 3 of the Government’s Action for Housing and Homelessness - Rebuilding Ireland commits to giving further consideration to amending the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, to extend the duration of planning permissions that have already benefited from a first extension of duration. In this regard, the pre-existing provisions in relation to the extension of duration of planning permission only allowed for the possibility of the granting of one extension of duration of planning permission subject to the satisfaction of specified criteria.
Due to the economic recession of recent years and the resulting downturn in construction activity, certain housing developments granted planning permission during those years were not progressed within the timeframes initially envisaged and consequently remain unfinished and to be completed, even though they may have benefited from an extension of duration of permission (i.e. a first extension of duration).
In recognition of these unforeseen circumstances and so that developers would not be required to re-commence the planning process in respect of uncompleted portions of developments, section 28 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the 2016 Act) amended the extension of duration provisions to provide that a further (second) extension of duration of permission could be granted where the planning authority considered it requisite to enable a development to be completed. This possibility of such further extension of duration of permission was limited to housing developments of 20 units or more subject to applications for such extensions of duration of permission being made within specified timeframes. Furthermore, such additional extensions of duration of permission are time-limited and cannot extend beyond the end date of Rebuilding Ireland – 31 December 2021.
Due to an oversight in the 2016 Act, it was not possible to commence the relevant provision allowing for a further second extension of duration of planning permission in respect of concerned unfinished housing developments. This oversight was initially being addressed by way of a Government amendment tabled in a separate Planning Bill - the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016 - which is presently at Dail Report Stage. This initial amendment has been incorporated in the text of that Planning Bill as adopted at Committee Stage in April 2017 but requires further revision which it was intended to table at Seanad Stage. The enactment of these combined amendments would allow the relevant extension of duration provisions in the 2016 Act to be commenced by way of Ministerial Commencement Order. However, due to unforeseen delays in the legislative process, this Bill is unlikely to be enacted before the Oireachtas Summer Recess. Consequently, the only guaranteed means of ensuring that the relevant correcting extension of duration provisions are enacted before the Summer recess is by means of this fast-track standalone Bill incorporating just two sections and dealing with one issue which can be speedily progressed through the Oireachtas with the necessary political support and subsequently enacted.