The Planning and Development (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2018 - S.I. No. 30 of 2018 - which came into operation on 8 February 2018, provide for an exemption from the requirement to obtain planning permission in respect of the change of use of certain vacant commercial premises, including vacant areas above ground floor premises, to residential use. This measure was aimed at facilitating the productive re-use of qualifying vacant commercial buildings as homes, while also facilitating urban renewal and the bringing on stream of increased housing supply. The original expiry date of the Regulations was 31 December 2021 which was subsequently extended to 25 February 2022 arising from the Covid-related extension of statutory deadlines within the planning system in respect of the period March to May 2020.
The Government's recently published New Housing Plan for Ireland - Housing for All commits to reviewing and extending the 2018 regulations that exempt certain vacant commercial premises from the requirement to obtain planning permission for change of use to residential purposes to the end of 2025. My Department is presently examining potential areas where the scope of the existing exempted development regulations, introduced by S.I. No. 30 of 2018, might possibly be extended to include other forms of vacant commercial premises.
Under section 262(4) of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, legislative proposals in relation to exempted development require the approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas before they can be signed into law. It is intended to submit the final draft regulations in this regard to the Oireachtas for approval shortly.