Government approves proposals for termination and replacement of Strategic Housing Development planning arrangements

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has today received Government approval for the termination and replacement of Strategic Housing Development (SHDs) planning arrangements.

New streamlined arrangements for large-scale residential developments (LSRDs) which restore decision-making to local authorities will be introduced to replace SHDs.

It is intended that the new arrangements will come into effect on enactment of the Bill in the autumn. Subject to Oireachtas approval and the timely enactment of the Bill, it is anticipated that the following dates will apply to the wind up of the SHD arrangements and the introduction of the new arrangements for LSRDs:

  • 29 October 2021 will be the last day for requesting a SHD pre-application consultation request with An Bord Pleanála
  • A planning application for a SHD must be submitted to An Bord Pleanála by 31 December 2021, at the latest, for proposals which have completed the SHD pre-application consultation process with An Bord Pleanála on or before 29 October 2021
  • 25 February 2022 is the last date for submitting a subsequent SHD planning application to the Board in respect of those SHD proposals which complete the SHD pre-application consultation process after 29 October 2021

The intended end dates are being signaled now to provide certainty and clarity around the replacement of the SHD arrangements, and to allow developers and the associated professional sectors time to prepare and adapt to the proposed new arrangements.

Minister O’Brien welcomed Government’s decision saying that it provided for planning applications for large scale residential developments to be dealt with in the first instance at the local level by local planning authorities.

Commenting he said:

“These are very significant changes, restoring the primary decision-making function to local authorities, while also introducing mandatory timelines to ensure an efficient process for large scale residential developments.

“The new two stage planning process being provided for these types of planning applications will involve an initial application to the relevant local authority with the possibility of subsequent appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

“This will allow for enhanced public participation on these local developments. Given the restoration of the appeal mechanism for such proposed developments to the Board, the new arrangements should also reduce the number of judicial review challenges being taken against such proposed developments going forward, as is happening under the current SHD arrangements.

“We need to rapidly increase the supply of homes to get to a place where 33,000 homes are being built each year to meet demand. I am confident that these new arrangements will ensure a speedy determination of large scale housing development proposals in the planning system and ultimately get new developments off the ground.

“I look forward to engaging with the Oireachtas on these proposals and progressing the Bill in the Oireachtas in the autumn.”