Wednesday 18 September 2019

Planning board rejected almost a third of 'fast-track' proposals in 2018

Eoghan Murphy introduced the system in 2017. Photo: Collins
Eoghan Murphy introduced the system in 2017. Photo: Collins

Michael Cogley

An Bord Pleanála turned down almost a third of all planning applications filed through the fast-track system last year, new figures show.

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 planning body received 97 valid requests for pre-application consultation relating to large-scale developments last year, according to the Department of Housing's annual report. Of those 97, it offered opinions on 63, with the remainder issued in 2019.

A total of 39 actual applications for SHD permission were submitted throughout 2018 and, of those, permission was granted to 27 proposals.

The granted proposals have the potential to deliver 7,102 homes, made up of 3,284 houses and 3,818 apartments. A further 4,479 student beds were approved.

The fast-track system is currently under review. The present rules apply up until the end of the year, while Murphy has the option to extend them for a further two years, bringing the scheme in line with the conclusion of Rebuilding Ireland.

The Department of Housing has opened a 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.

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