Vacant pubs accounted for one-fifth of planned conversions of vacant commercial properties into homes in 2022
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, today published figures that showed that one-fifth of notifications received by local authorities in the last year to convert certain vacant commercial premises into homes related to former pubs.
One year ago, Minister O’Brien extended and amended existing regulations exempting certain types of vacant commercial premises from planning permission - where it is intended to provide residential units - to include former pubs. The regulations aim to promote the re-use of vacant commercial buildings for much-needed housing supply and to renew urban areas. The extension of the regulations to include pubs was intended to increase housing supply through this vehicle. The regulations, a part of the government’s Housing For All plan and Town Centre First Policy, are in place to the end of 2025.
In 2022, local authorities received notifications of 260 exempted developments of this type. Fifty-three of these (with the intention to provide a total of 169 homes) related to pubs. Overall, of the 260 notifications received, plans put forward were aimed at providing 665 homes.
Today’s figures also show that since 2018, when the exemptions were first introduced, local authorities have received notifications relating to the provision of 2,066 homes.
Commenting on the one-year anniversary of signing the new regulations, Minister O’Brien said:
“These figures show that government regulations to allow former, vacant pubs be converted into homes without needing planning permission is helping to tackle the problem of vacancy. In just ten months, the owners of 53 former pubs have notified local authorities of their intention to use this exemption. In recent years towns and villages have regrettably seen pubs close their doors for the last time but these exemptions are helping to provide housing, including ‘over the shop’ living in once-vacant spaces. These conversions are also helping to revitalise our town centres, something the government is committed to achieving through our ‘Town Centre First’ policy.’"
The figures have been published as the department prepares to launch today (Monday 27 February) the second phase of its national ad campaign to raise awareness of the government’s vacant property supports. The campaign’s second phase highlights these planning permission exemptions and the Repair and Leasing Scheme.
Commenting on the campaign, the Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Kieran O’Donnell, said:
“Right across the country the public are responding to the supports available for turning vacant property into homes. Over the next two weeks, we’re going to highlight both the planning permission exemptions for converting vacant commercial property into a home and the Repair and Leasing Scheme. The Repair and Leasing Scheme offers vacant property owners the opportunity to restore a property with the help of a local authority loan in return for guaranteed rent for a defined period of time by renting the property out for social housing. We urge anyone interested in buying, selling or leasing a vacant property that could be a home to visit gov.ie/vacancy or contact their local authority’s Vacant Homes Officer.”