Government approves proposals for termination and replacement of Strategic Housing Development planning arrangements
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has today received Government approval for the termination and replacement of Strategic Housing Development (SHDs) planning arrangements.
New streamlined arrangements for large-scale residential developments (LSRDs) which restore decision-making to local authorities will be introduced to replace SHDs.
It is intended that the new arrangements will come into effect on enactment of the Bill in the autumn. Subject to Oireachtas approval and the timely enactment of the Bill, it is anticipated that the following dates will apply to the wind up of the SHD arrangements and the introduction of the new arrangements for LSRDs:
Minister O’Brien welcomed Government’s decision saying that it provided for planning applications for large scale residential developments to be dealt with in the first instance at the local level by local planning authorities.
Commenting he said, “These are very significant changes, restoring the primary decision-making function to local authorities, while also introducing mandatory timelines to ensure an efficient process for large scale residential developments.
“The new two stage planning process being provided for these types of planning applications will involve an initial application to the relevant local authority with the possibility of subsequent appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
“This will allow for enhanced public participation on these local developments. Given the restoration of the appeal mechanism for such proposed developments to the Board, the new arrangements should also reduce the number of judicial review challenges being taken against such proposed developments going forward, as is happening under the current SHD arrangements.
“We need to rapidly increase the supply of homes to get to a place where 33,000 homes are being built each year to meet demand. I am confident that these new arrangements will ensure a speedy determination of large scale housing development proposals in the planning system and ultimately get new developments off the ground.
“I look forward to engaging with the Oireachtas on these proposals and progressing the Bill in the Oireachtas in the autumn,” concluded Minister O’Brien.
Note for Editors:
The proposals are set out in the General Scheme for the Planning and Development (Amendment) (LSRD) Bill 2021 which is available on the Department’s website here.
Background to SHD
update on changes to our Covid-19 vaccination services which are operating across Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin North City and County (CHO DNCC). I am pleased to inform you that our Community Vaccination Centre is opening at the National Show Centre in Swords on Monday, 12th July, 2021. The Community Vaccination Centre is relocating from The Helix, DCU to allow for the return of university students in September.
The National Show Centre, Swords is one of two Community Vaccination Centres operating in the Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin North City and County (CHO DNCC) area, alongside Croke Park.
With 50 vaccination booths available, the National Show Centre, Swords has capacity for up to 5,000 vaccinations a day, and will operate from 8am to 8pm as required. Vaccination will continue by appointment only and registration is currently available at vaccine.hse.ie. A PPS Number, Eircode, mobile phone number and email address are required for registration.
One important aspect of the move will be to highlight to members of the public who received their first doses at The Helix, that they will receive their second doses at the National Show Centre in Swords. In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new venue, I would be grateful if you would share these details with your constituents to ensure that they are aware of the changes, particularly those who are due to receive their second dose at the National Show Centre in Swords.
Today (1st July 2021) Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development visited Inner City Organisations Network (ICON) Ltd, one of seven successful organisations taking part in a recently announced pilot Community Development Programme.
The €1m pilot programme is aimed at trialling community led interventions that address poverty, social exclusion and inequality, and promote human rights.
ICON has been working with marginalised individuals and groups in Dublin’s North East Inner City using community development principles since its inception in 1990. The project put forward by ICON as part of the pilot Community Development Programme will continue this theme by building an awareness among marginalised women in Dublin’s north east inner city regarding the right to adequate housing in the private rented sector.
Minister O’Brien said:
“I am delighted to visit ICON today, one of the organisations that have been successful in receiving funding under the pilot Community Development Programme. I know, and ICON’s previous work underpins this, that communities themselves are best placed to identify needs and to work collaboratively to develop pathways to fully access their rights. It is hugely important that those voices that are most marginalised in society are given opportunities to engage and help develop activities that they know will help enhance their lived experiences and bring their voice to the table when decisions are being made.
“I hope that the work completed by ICON under this project will benefit not only marginalised women in this area, but will also serve as a wider example of how community led interventions can address important issues affecting the marginalised in society such as access to adequate housing.
“As we emerge from COVID-19 we must focus on supporting those most marginalised in order to ensure that the social recovery is as effective as possible in ensuring that nobody is left behind. The launch of this CDP Pilot is a clear signal from government that we are intent on building a recovery from COVID-19 with the most social excluded to the fore.”
Taoiseach and Ministers launch National Marine Planning Framework and publish Maritime Area Planning Bill
An Taoiseach Michéal Martin TD and fellow Ministers today launched the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF), Ireland’s first national framework for managing marine activities.
The framework, which will apply to a maritime area of approximately 495,000km², outlines a vision for how we want to use, protect and enjoy our seas in the years up to 2040.
He launched the NMPF alongside Ministers Darragh O’Brien TD, Eamon Ryan TD and Peter Burke TD at the Commissioners for Irish Lights Headquarters in Dún Laoghaire.
The Taoiseach also confirmed the publication of the Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021, legislation to manage marine development, which was approved by Cabinet on 29 June.
Speaking at the launch, the Taoiseach said:
“As an island nation, Ireland has a special relationship with our coasts and seas.
“The Programme for Government has clear priorities for our maritime area – firstly to create a statutory marine spatial plan, and secondly to bring forward legislation for a new marine planning system.
“I am delighted to officially launch Ireland’s first national Marine Spatial Plan, the National Marine Planning Framework. This provides us, for the first time in our history, with a proper long-term framework for the effective management of marine activities and more sustainable use of our marine resources. It enables us to set a clear direction for managing our seas, and to clarify environmental, economic and social priorities.”
Minister O’Brien will now bring the bill to the Oireachtas to seek enactment. This legislation is critical to ensuring Ireland meets its ambitious offshore renewable targets. The Bill, when enacted, will establish in law a new planning regime for the maritime area. It will replace existing State and development consent regimes and streamline arrangements on the basis of a single consent principle, i.e. one State consent (Maritime Area Consent) to enable occupation of the Maritime Area and one development consent (planning permission), with a single environmental assessment.
The NMPF contains a vision, objectives and planning policies for all marine-based human activities. It outlines how those activities will interact with each other in an increasingly pressured ocean space. It is be the key decision-making tool for Government departments, State agencies, regulatory authorities and policy makers for decisions on marine activities up to 2040. Decisions will include planning applications as well as policies, projects and strategies. The Framework is a parallel document to the National Planning Framework, which guides terrestrial planning and development.
Commenting on the forthcoming Maritime Area Planning Bill, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said:
“My Department is leading an extensive marine management reform programme, the likes of which the State has never seen. The Maritime Area Planning Bill, which Cabinet has approved, is further evidence of this Government’s intent to modernise the State’s approach to marine management. It will represent a giant leap forward towards meeting our ambitious climate action goals and targets.”
Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD, who has specific responsibility for marine planning, said:
“The adoption of the NMPF marks an important Programme for Government milestone, delivering on the Government’s long-term commitment to protecting our seas for future generations. With such a diverse range of activities occurring within our marine area, the need for a coordinated and coherent approach to decision-making and governance cannot be emphasised enough.”
Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said:
“Ireland’s ocean area is home to an amazing array of marine life. Our offshore wind resources are also a wonderful opportunity for us to break free from fossil fuels and reach our ambitious climate goals. My department has been closely involved in the development of this framework and the related legislation, which will create a streamlined planning and consent regime. We are determined that as we develop our resources, we do so in a way that protects and restores our marine environment and its biodiversity. Additional legislation to follow on Marine Protected Areas will be crucial in helping us achieve that.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, welcomed the Framework’s role in future development of fisheries and aquaculture licensing:
“As Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, my Department is responsible for sea fishers and Aquaculture licensing. The seafood industry is an important long standing, pre-existing and traditional activity in the marine environment. Therefore, careful planning, including early consultation with and consideration of potential impacts on this sector will be essential to ensuring the ocean economy in all its forms can successfully co-exist and develop under the Plan. Staff from my Department have worked closely with staff in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on this plan and I look forward to working in future with the Department on the establishment of Project Ireland Marine 2040.”
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, welcomed the NMPF’s launch:
“As Minister for Tourism I have a particular interest in how the NMPF will influence the shaping of our marine areas in the future. We all know how important our beaches and marine areas have been for people who have lived near them during the pandemic. Now, with restrictions lifting, more people are looking forward to getting back to the coastline and marine activities. I believe that the National Marine Planning Framework will play an important role in supporting the short-term recovery of tourism. With longer term planning it will have a positive impact on our most significant natural resource, our maritime area.”
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, said:
“Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all of its people. The National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework, which make up Project Ireland 2040, focus on terrestrial infrastructure. The addition of the National Marine Planning Framework sets out the policies for the sustainable development of our maritime area. This will support business and communities in our coastal areas and is of vital importance to Ireland’s recovery after the unprecedented impact of Covid-19.”
Key provisions are set to be inserted into the Residential Tenancies (No. 2) Bill 2021, published on 17 June, to reform the rent increase restrictions in RPZs. These reforms will take effect upon the passage of the Bill, expected by July 9th.
The current cap of 4% on annual rent increases will be replaced and rents in RPZs can now only go up, if necessary, in line with general inflation as recorded in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). This will result in far lower rent increases for the estimated 74% of all tenancies which are in RPZs. HICP averaged 0.73% over the past three years.
For those outside of RPZs, the provision for bi-annual rent reviews will be extended for an additional three years from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2024. This provides rent certainty for tenants outside of RPZs for a minimum 2 year period at a time.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said:
“Improving the standards, security and affordability for renters is a priority for me and for the Government. We are making significant changes in recognition of the fact that tenants continue to face persistent pressures in the rental and housing markets.
“I have always acknowledged that for some, the 4% cap on rent increases in RPZs became a target rather than a limit. We are now taking action to ensure that tenants will only pay rent increases, if required to, which are in line with general inflation, which is currently below 2%.
“The linkage with the HICP respects the constitutionally protected property rights of landlords and aims to safeguard continued investment in the sector by existing and new landlords to deliver the requisite supply of high-quality rental accommodation.
“In addition to significantly reducing the level of rent increases in RPZs, the Bill will also restrict the level of upfront payments required of tenants, to a total value that does not exceed two months’ rent to cover any deposit and one month rent in advance. We are also extending protections for those most impacted by COVID-19, in arrears and at risk of losing their tenancy. Such tenants will be protected from rent increases and/or evictions to January 2022.
“All tenants, including students and the most vulnerable tenants, are set to gain significant protections under this Bill.”
Minister O’Brien welcomes contract signing for Malahide-Portmarnock Educate Together National School Site
Local Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has welcomed the confirmation from the Department of Education that contracts have been signed for the acquisition of a four acre greenfield site at Broomfield, Malahide for a new permanent school for Malahide-Portmarnock Educate Together National School.
Minister O’Brien paid tribute to Principal Emer Hoy and the Board of Management for their hard work in reaching this important milestone and said he would continue to work with them to ensure the project was progressed as quickly as possible.
Commenting he said, “This confirmation follows an extensive site identification and assessment exercise and is great news for the teachers, students and their parents and indeed all local groups who have campaigned for a new school for a long time.
Fingal has the youngest population in Ireland and is also the fastest growing local authority area in Ireland. We must ensure that our schools are fit for purpose for all our students.
“I look forward to seeing further details of the proposal but this is certainly a very significant step forward,” he concluded.