Planning & Environmental Law: General Scheme Of The Planning And Development (No. 1) Bill 2014

Author:Mr Dominic Burke and Eoin Cassidy
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

("Planning No.1 Bill")

Planning No.1 Bill sets out proposals to address the housing supply shortage in Ireland and also to incentivise development of vacant and underutilised sites left behind by the boom.

Key Provisions

The key provisions of Planning No.1 Bill are:

Amendments to Part V Requirements

Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 requires local authorities and in turn developers, to make provision for social and affordable housing in residential developments. The Planning No.1 Bill proposes to relax some of these requirements, to make developments more economically viable, while also, looking to maintain the principles of social integration underlying Part V. The amendments to Part V include:

Narrowing the application of Part V, so it will now only apply to developments of 10 houses or more, as opposed to 5 previously. Reducing the obligation on developers to provide 20% of units for social and/or affordable housing, to an obligation to provide 10% of units for social housing only. The obligation to provide affordable housing is removed. Abolishing the option for developers to account for their social housing obligations through cash payments to local authorities. Obliging developers to provide the required social housing on site at the development. Off-site options will now only be allowed in exceptional circumstances. Importantly, the new Part V arrangements will apply to existing planning permissions, so they will be of assistance to developments which have stalled in recent years.

Introduction of a Vacant Site Levy

This is a new measure, empowering local authorities to apply a levy on the registered owner of vacant or underutilised sites in urban areas, where the owner has failed to develop the site without good reason.

The levy will be at an annual rate of 3% of the market value of the site, rising by 1% annually up to a maximum of 6%. Non-payment is an offence, with a fine of €5,000 on summary conviction. However, local authorities will have a reasonable degree of latitude not to apply the levy where is it satisfied that there are economic reasons, including "undue hardship" which has yet to be defined, infrastructural, technical, or other reasons to prevent commencement of the development. Reduced Development Contributions for existing planning permissions

Development Contributions are charges levied by local authorities on developments in respect of use of public infrastructure. The rate for Development...

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