Thursday, 4 March 2004

Questions (69, 70)

Liz McManus

Question:

61 Ms McManus asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when he intends to introduce the promised guidelines under the Planning and Development Act to deal with the issue of one-off housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7141/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Earlier today, I published a public consultation draft of Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Rural Housing. The guidelines will be issued in due course as ministerial guidelines under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 having regard to the views expressed during the public consultation process. Section 28 provides that planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála shall have regard to the provisions of any such guidelines in the performance of their functions.

The draft guidelines set out in detail how the Government's policies on rural housing are to be implemented by planning authorities in their development plans and in the operation of the development control system to support the sustainable development of all rural areas.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

62 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the progress made to date in the review of the retail planning guidelines relating to the floor space cap on retail warehouses; when he expects that the process will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7146/04]

View answer

In August 2003 I announced a review of the retail planning guidelines in regard to the floor space cap on retail warehouses contained in the guidelines. The guidelines currently prescribe a maximum floor area of 6,000 sq. m. gross retail floor space for large scale single retail warehouse development. This cap is now being reviewed, taking account of the need to ensure effective competition in this sector of retailing and ongoing developments in retail formats, while also having regard to issues of proper planning and sustainable development. Central to this review will be the potential impact of the national spatial strategy on the guidelines and the need to ensure that cities and towns have the range of retail facilities that supports their attractiveness and competitiveness for investment and population growth.

To assist in carrying out the review, I invited interested parties to make submissions to my Department. Some 71 submissions were received by and are now being assessed. They will be fully taken into account in considering further whether any changes are needed in the guidelines. I expect that the process will be completed shortly.