Wednesday 7 June 2023

Circular PL 02/2022 - Planning and Development Act (Exempted Development) Regulations 2022 (S.I. 75 of 2022)

 The Planning and Development (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2018 - S.I. No. 30 of 2018 - which came into operation on 8 February 2018, provided for an exemption from the requirement to obtain planning permission in respect of the change of use of certain vacant commercial premises, including vacant areas above ground floor premises, to residential use. The regulations are primarily aimed at facilitating the productive re-use of qualifying vacant commercial buildings as homes, while also facilitating urban renewal and the bringing on stream of increased housing supply. 

Planning and Development Act (Exempted Development) Regulations 2022 (S.I. 75 of 2022).

The Planning and Development Act (Exempted Development) Regulations 2022 (S.I. 75 of 2022) extends to 31 December 2025 the exemption given by SI 30 of 2018 and satisfies the commitment given by action 20.3 of Housing for All. In order to avail of the exemptions being provided for, the structure, or part of the structure, which is the subject of the change of use must have been vacant for at least 2 years immediately prior to the commencement of the relevant works, with such works being required to be completed by 31 December 2025.

In addition to the classes of use that qualified under the 2018 change of use exempted development provisions – i.e. Classes 1, 2, 3 and 6 – as outlined in Part 4 of Schedule 2 of the Principal Regulations, the new regulations extend the provisions to a new Class 12 - Use as a Public House, meaning a premises which has been licensed for the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor on the premises under the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018. The conditions and limitations that applied to the 2018 exempted development provisions, as outlined in previous Circular Letter PL 01/2018, will continue to apply under these regulations which include: 

- Related works shall primarily affect the interior of the building, with limited external works being permitted which are in keeping with the building and neighbouring buildings, including the provision of on-street access to upper floors, and alterations to existing ground floor shop fronts in respect of window and architectural details. 

- Works to the ground floor of any structure shall not conflict with an objective in a development plan for the structure to remain in retail use, with the exception, as mentioned above, of works solely for the provision of on-street access to upper floors. 

- No more than 9 individual residential units can be provided in a building. 

- Minimum standards shall apply to residential units being developed such as minimum requirements in relation to overall floor areas, storage space requirements and the need for adequate natural light in living rooms and bedrooms (see the “Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments - Guidelines for Planning Authorities”). 

- Works to a protected structure shall not be permitted unless a section 57 declaration has been issued by a planning authority to indicate the works will not affect the character or elements of the structure which has been identified for protection. 

- Works for the provision of on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems i.e. septic tanks, shall not be permitted under the exemption. 

- Works shall not be permitted in a number of limited areas, such as areas of special planning control, areas to which special amenity area orders relate and within certain proximity distances of establishments to which the major accident regulations apply. 

- Care should be taken to ensure compliance with relevant legislative requirements in relation to the assessment of potential impacts on bats, their roosts and nesting birds arising from any proposed works in relevant buildings. 

A number of other general restrictions as set out in Article 9 of the Principal Regulations are identified as applying to this exemption. In addition, development must not contravene a condition attached to a permission issued under the Act, including any condition specifying the permitted use of the building concerned.

Notification Requirement 

As has applied since the introduction of the 2018 regulations, a planning authority must be notified in writing of the details of the development at least 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the proposed change of use, and related works, and the notification must include information on the location and details of residential units being developed. The new regulations further require that the notification must include the Eircode for the relevant property. A planning authority remains required to: 

- maintain a record of any notifications received, 

- make the record publicly available online and at their office, and

- submit annual returns to the Minister detailing the notifications received.

A link is provided here to the new regulations. 

Details uploaded by BPS Planning & Development Consultants LTD.

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