Residential development will be considered in the countryside only when it is for the provision of a necessary dwelling. In general terms, this means:
• You do not currently own a home in the County. If you previously owned a home in the County, you will generally not be considered eligible for a new rural house. However, all circumstances will be taken into consideration.
• You have strong linkages to the area in which you want to build. This will usually mean either a strong family linkage or a need to live in the area because of your employment.
This policy is set out in full in Chapter 3 of the Wicklow County Development Plan (Policy SS9).
If you are seeking permission on the basis of having a housing need and connection to an area, it will be necessary for you to submit supporting documentation with any application.
Sean Byrne is from Kilbride, a rural townland in east Wicklow. The nearest town is Newcastle. He grew up in the family home, which is on a small parcel of land of 1 acre. He left home at 18 to go to college and now rents a house in Wicklow town, where he works. He now wants to build in his native area, but there isn’t enough room on his parents’ site for another house. A neighbouring landowner has offered him a site.
Does Sean qualify for permission?
Sean qualifies to build in this area because (a) he doesn’t already own a home in the County and (b) he wants to build in his native area, close to his family, where he has social and community connections.
Sean would need to submit information with his application to support his case, for example:
- Map of the family holding showing the location of the family home in relation to the application site and evidence that his parents still reside in the family home e.g. utility bills
- Evidence that this home has been in family ownership for the length of time stated and that Sean resided there since childhood (e.g. Land Registry documentation, letters from schools etc).
- Any additional written evidence of his links to an area e.g. membership of local groups or clubs.
Mary O’Reilly is from Rathdrum. She grew up on the Main Street with her parents and when she married, she bought a small house on Back Lane in Rathdrum town centre. This house is now too small for her family. She has seen a site for sale about 2 miles from Rathdrum on the way to Greenane.
Does Mary qualify for permission?
Mary does not qualify to build on this site because (a) she already owns a house and (b) she is from the town of Rathdrum, not the rural area 2 miles outside it, where she has no family of social connections.
In general, people from urban areas (i.e. towns) are not eligible to build in rural areas.
Thomas Walsh is a landowner from south Wicklow. He owns and farms 100 acres. The original family home is now a ruin and he got permission in the 1980s for a new bungalow. He has now legally separated from his wife and has had to give her this house as part of the settlement.
Does Thomas qualify for permission?
Thomas qualifies for a new house, because (a) he is full-time farmer who must live on the land to tend the livestock, (b) although he did already own a home, he has a housing need because he has had to hand over his house as part of the separation settlement.
Thomas would need to submit information with his application to support his case, for example:
- map of the farm holding showing the location of the family home in relation to the application site.
- evidence that he is a full-time farmer and this is his only source of income.
- evidence that the family home was transferred to the sole ownership of his wife following legal separation.
- any additional written evidence of his links to an area e.g. membership of local groups or clubs.
Karen and Seamus are both from Dublin and they own a house in Templeogue. Seamus works in the city centre. They have always dreamed of building a house of their own around the Blessington Lakes, which they often visit at the weekends with their children. Given the property value in Templeogue, they reckon they could build a much larger house in a rural area.
Do they qualify for permission?
Karen and Seamus do not qualify as they (a) already own a house and (b) have no connection to Wicklow or to the Blessington Lakes area.