Red tape causing delays in housing developments - Property Industry Ireland

Red tape causing delays in housing developments - Property Industry Ireland
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Property Industry Ireland has warned that bureaucracy and red tape is causing delays of up to two years between housing developments being granted planning permission and the start of construction.

PII told the Oireachtas Housing Committee that planning permission is not the main issue in delivering new houses but that developments face lengthy delays after this step.

The matter was raised during a housing committee discussion on strategic housing developments (SHD), the legislation introduced two years ago to fast-track the planning process for large-scale developments in a bid to tackle the housing crisis.

The SHD legislation is currently under review. Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is due to make a decision on whether to extend the scheme until 2021 before the end of the month. He is understood to be in favour of doing so but would require a number of changes to the legislation before signing off on it.

These include the imposition of a clause limiting planning permissions to one year - essentially forcing developers to act quickly on their permissions rather than sitting on sites.

In addition, Mr Murphy is understood to be considering a fast-track process for utilities, such as water, gas and telecommunications, to help open up sites more quickly.

These would answer several of the concerns raised by PII during the consultation process.

Dr David Duffy, the director of PII, told the Oireachtas Housing Committee that delays of six months to two years are slowing down the construction process.

"There are a number of reasons for this time lag including the need to obtain compliance approval from the local authority in relation to pre-commencement conditions, the need to agree Part V social housing provision details; the need to agree water and drainage details Irish Water," he said.

"In some cases, commencement is dependent on upgrades to local infrastructure by Irish Water or the local authority.

"Typically, it can take six months or more to get responses from a local authority to pre-commencement compliance submissions.

The time lag between permission being granted and commencement of construction can be anything from 6 months to two years for these reasons.

PII made 12 recommendations to overhaul the SHD scheme. These include a request to allow for a greater volume of commercial development in the residential schemes, the allocation of additional resources to Irish Water to reduce the delays in working with the utility provider, and a requirement for prescribed bodies to engage during the pre-application stage.

PII also recommended that the SHD could be optional for applicants.

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