Under the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Rural Housing 2005, planning authorities are required to frame the planning policies in their development plans in a balanced and measured way that ensures the housing needs of rural communities are met, while avoiding excessive urban-generated housing. The 2005 Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines are available on my Department’s website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-files/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Planning/FileDownLoad%2C1620%2Cen.pdf.
The National Planning Framework (the NPF) provides an important strategic basis for interpreting the 2005 Guidelines. National Policy Objective 15 of the NPF fully supports the concept of the sustainable development of rural areas by encouraging growth and arresting decline in areas that have experienced low population growth or decline in recent decades, while simultaneously indicating the need to manage certain areas around cities and towns.
The 2005 Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines are framed in the context of the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) 2002. Given the many changes in policy and in wider society since 2002/5, the superseding of the NSS by the NPF in 2018, together with other factors, there is now merit in updating the Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines in a broader rural development and settlement context. My Department has commenced scoping this work.
In the interim, the NPF objectives together with the 2005 Guidelines, enable planning authorities to continue to draft and adopt county development plan policies for one-off housing in rural areas.