Minister considering 'use-it-or-lose-it' rule to get developers building faster

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Cormac McQuinn

A 'use-it-or-lose-it' rule for planning permissions in Strategic Housing Developments (SHDs) is being considered by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy as part of the Government's bid to tackle the housing crisis.

Other measures Mr Murphy is looking at include bringing in a 'fast-track' for utilities to help open up sites more quickly, and introducing further restrictions on the possibilities for local objections.

These restrictions would particularly apply in the case of objections to Traveller accommodation developments. A review group is currently examining the issue of SHDs and projects of 100 units or more which can benefit from a fast-tracked planning process.

One issue that has been identified is land owners securing planning permission under the scheme and selling on or 'flipping' the site rather than developing it themselves.

It is understood a 'use-it-or-lose-it' period of a year is being considered by the minister to encourage faster development on sites that have planning permission.

Sources said that the proposal was among a number that Mr Murphy was considering bringing to the Dáil in September after the review group has finished its work.

SHD arrangements were introduced in 2017 and apply until the end of this year.

There is a possibility of extending the scheme to the end of 2021, subject to a review of the operation and effectiveness of the measures.

The review group is currently meeting stakeholders, including An Bord Pleanála and local authorities, as it works on its report.

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