Sunday 25 August 2019

'Fast-track' planning system to face public review ahead of potential two-year extension


Eoghan Murphy introduced system in 2017
Eoghan Murphy introduced system in 2017

Michael Cogley

The fast-track planning system aimed at expediting large-scale developments is to undergo a review.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy introduced the system for strategic housing development (SHD) legislation in 2017.

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Under the rules, developers building out sites with 100 or more housing units, or 200-plus student units, or shared living beds, can apply for planning straight from An Bord Pleanála. The planning board is required to deliver a ruling on any such proposed plans within 16 weeks.

The rules currently apply up until the end of the year, while Murphy has the option to extend it for a further two years, bringing it in line with the conclusion of Rebuilding Ireland.

The Department of Housing has opened a public consultation on the fast-track system and invited submissions from "relevant stakeholders, including the general public".

While the SHD legislation was introduced to speed up the delivery of large developments, some cases have been dogged by objections and overturned in judicial reviews.

Cairn Homes had its plans granted under fast-track for 220 homes in Blackrock, Co Dublin, quashed by a judge.

Southwood Park Residents Association took judicial review proceedings against the planning board's decision to grant permission on the grounds of Chesterfield House. Last week, the developer's permission was quashed by Mr Justice Garrett Simons, because a document on the potential impact of the development on bat species was not posted online.

Similarly, in Bearna, Co Galway, Burkeway Homes had its permission for 197 homes overturned in court.

The High Court ruled in June that An Bord Pleanála had acted outside of its powers when it granted permission for the homes on the 18-acre site near Galway city centre.

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