Three-year wait for permission for family keen to build new house
A young couple waiting for permission to build their home for more than three years have said the obstacles created by planning authorities are fuelling the housing crisis.
Aoife and Trevor Phelan, from Tullamore, Co Offaly, applied for planning permission to build a home on Aoife's family farmlands, where her siblings had both previously built their homes, in 2015.
The application has been with An Bord Pleanála for five months, having been shot down by Offaly County Council due to the site's location near a restricted zone.
It has left the couple, who have two young children, aged nine weeks old and two years old, in fear they might never get the keys to their home.
"We're not looking for anything from anybody except the right to build on our family farm and to have a house for our family," Aoife said.
"We're now waiting 19 weeks for An Bord Pleanála to make a decision and we have no idea what the decision is going to be.
"We have all our ducks in a row, we'll be employing people locally to do it and we've been approved for a mortgage, yet we can't build. It's that essence that everything is just left as long as it possibly can be."
Meanwhile, the family of four has been forced into a squeezed rental market on a year-to-year lease. "Our rental agreement is about to expire. If we got our permission last year...we would have our house started by now," Aoife said.
A spokesperson for An Bord Pleanála confirmed "there is a back-log but we're working as best we can to get through it".