Following engagement between the European Commission and my Department regarding the European Court of Justice ruling in the "Flemish Decree" case, a working group was established to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to the 2005 Planning Guidelines on Sustainable Rural Housing, issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. The working group comprises senior officials from the Planning Division of my Department and senior officials from the Planning Divisions of local authorities, nominated by the local government sector.
My Department is reviewing the Development Plan Guidelines for Planning Authorities in light of both legislative changes and the introduction of the National Planning Framework (NPF) and Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies. In line with the NPF Objective 37, my Department is also working on guidance on the preparation of Housing Need Demand Assessments, which will inform housing strategies and associated land use zoning policies.
In addition to reviewing the Development Plan Guidelines, my Department is reviewing whether to update the Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines for Planning Authorities or whether the update would be more appropriately reflected in new guidance on Sustainable Settlements. Such guidance would incorporate both the Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2005) and the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on the Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (2009), which encompasses towns and villages, to more appropriately reflect the range of areas and influences and the objectives of the NPF.
I envisage that draft guidance arising from the foregoing work should be available for consideration later in 2020.