As part of the actions under the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the Act) introduced new streamlined arrangements to enable planning applications for strategic housing developments (SHDs) of 100 housing units or more or student accommodation or shared accommodation developments of 200 bed spaces or more, to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála for determination.
The primary purpose of the SHD arrangements is to support efficiency in the planning decision-making process, providing greater certainty for developers in terms of the timeframes within which proposals for such developments can be determined, while also fully respecting the need to ensure proper planning and sustainable development, the statutory requirements for consultation and consideration of observations submitted.
The Act provides that the SHD arrangements apply for an initial period until the end of 2019. Section 4(2)(a) of the Act provides that not later than 30 October 2019, the Minister shall review the operation and effectiveness of the SHD arrangements and lay before both Houses of the Oireachtas a report of the conclusions of the review.
In this regard, I have established a Review Group to review the operation and effectiveness of the SHD provisions and to report back to me by end September 2019. The membership of the Review Group is as follows:
- Mr. John Martin, former Principal Planning Adviser in my Department (Chairperson):-
- Mr. David Silke, Housing Agency,
- Mr. David O’Connor, former Chief Executive, Fingal County Council, and
- Mr. Liam Conneally, Director of Services, Clare County Council, (nominated by the County and City Management Association).
A public consultation on the review process is currently ongoing and information is available on my Department's website at the following link:
The Review Group is expected to submit its report to me by the end of September 2019. Following the review, section 4(2)(b) of the Act provides that the SHD arrangements may be extended by Ministerial Order for a further limited period of 2 years, up to the end of 2021 which coincides with the timeframe of Rebuilding Ireland.