Fast-Track Planning

| James Sherwin

Fast Track Property Planning

On 24 December 2016, The Planning & Development (Housing) & Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (“the Act”) was signed into law. The Act aims to provide greater stability and protections for residential tenants.

The Act introduces a new fast-track planning procedure for large scale “strategic housing developments”. The new procedures will apply to:

  • residential developments of 100 dwellings or more;
  • student accommodation projects containing 200 or more bed spaces;
  • alterations of existing planning permissions to permit development as outlined above,

on land with appropriate zoning and subject to limitations on the extent of other uses.

While Applications will be made directly to An Bórd Pleanála (instead of the usual process of application to the local planning authority in the first instance, with a right of appeal to An Bórd Pleanála) the new procedure requires preplanning application consultations to take place. Consultations take place firstly with the local authority and then between An Bórd Pleanála, the developer and the relevant local authority. This could potentially result in planning decisions issuing within 25 weeks of commencement of the pre-application consultation process, which is a considerable time saving as against the current two-stage planning process which can take anywhere up to 24 months.

Where permission is granted under the fast-track procedure, an extension of planning permission is available only where substantial works have been carried out during the original lifespan of the planning permission. This aims to prevent land-hoarding in the wake of speculative applications for fast-tracked planning permission

The fast-tracked planning process will be in place until the end of 2019, with the possibility of extension by the Minister for a further two years, to coincide with the life of the Government’s action plan on housing and homelessness, Rebuilding Ireland.

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