Housing Reform Bill 2016. Fast Tracking the Planning System

Housing Reform Bill 2016 HRA PLANNING












Housing Bill 2016 Planning Reform.

The long awaiting Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2006 has been published. The Bill attempts to introduce a range of measures, not least, modifications to the planning system as part of the government’s programme: ‘Rebuilding Ireland – the Action Plan for Housing’.

The Bill proposes a number of changes, not least an attempt to fast tracking of the planning process by directing large housing projects directly to the planning appeals board (An Board Pleanála) for determination.  This bypasses the normal procedure where other non ‘strategic housing developments’ will continue to be determined by each individual planning authority.


What does this mean for developers, investors and professional designers?

  • Proposals for ‘strategic housing developments’ – the development of 100 or more houses on certain landuse zoning must be made directly to An Bord Pleanála for planning approval;
  • The process will require extensive pre-planning consultation with both the planning authority and with An Bord Pleanála prior to the lodgement of an application for ‘strategic housing development’;
  • Compulsory Pre-planning consultation with An Bord Pleanála by the developer who must present the detailed nature of the project and description of the possible effects on the environment and statement demonstrating how the proposal is consistent with relevant objectives of planning policy and guidelines;
  • The application for ‘strategic housing development’ must include design and planning details;
  • The application for ‘strategic housing development’ must include confirmation of significant effects on the environment or on a European Site;
  • A determination timeframe of a minimum 23 weeks including consultation (but excluding possible Oral Hearing);
  • In making its decision, the Board will apply where relevant, the provisions of Ministerial Guidelines instead of the provisions of the development to the extent that they so differ.  (This is a significant divergence from the role of each planning authority where the planning authority, if it were making the decision, has ‘regard’ to the provisions of Ministerial guidelines making its decision on the provisions of the adopted development plan for the area).


How Can HRA PLANNING assist?

  • The Board will facilitate pre-planning meetings for ‘strategic housing developments’ only where they are satisfied that they are in receipt of sufficient details of the scheme and possible effects of it.   This included compliance with planning policy and guidelines, a statement to this effect, and a statement on the possible effects on the environment and the Natura 2000 network.


  • With Town Planning and Environmental Planning expertise (review our services), HRA PLANNING  is best placed to advise on the extent of supporting information required and the sufficiency of its content (i) in support of a robust planning application for ‘strategic housing development’ demonstrating compliance with planning policy; and (ii) to sufficiently assess the possible effects on the built and natural environment (HRA PLANNING environmental impact assessment services)


Review our Planning Advisory services that would assist in strategic housing developments


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HRA PLANNING is currently engaged by developers and design professionals in future proofing housing proposals for the implementation of this amendment.  Contact us if you wish further assistance on this.