Vacant shops could soon be turned into homes to help tackle the housing shortage in Wicklow, a Fine Gael Deputy has said.
Proposals have been brought forward to Government today for vacant commercial premises to be made into housing without the need for planning permission.
Minister of State Andrew Doyle TD said: “These draft regulations, if approved by the Oireachtas, will allow the conversion of certain vacant commercial premises here in Wicklow such as empty retail units and “over the shop” type spaces to homes without the need for planning permission.
“This will have the dual benefit of creating urgently needed housing supply in high demand areas, while at the same time breathing new life into our towns and urban areas- many of which have been adversely affected by the economic downturn.
“Fine Gael in Government is fully committed to bringing as many vacant properties as possible back into use and maximising the use of existing resources.”
Minister Doyle continued: “These new regulations- brought forward by my Fine Gael colleagues, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Minister of State Damien English, will make it easier for property owners to re-imagine the use of vacant and under-used buildings without having to go through the planning process.
“These are the first of a series of measures being developed by my Department to streamline the various regulatory requirements relating to the conversion of vacant spaces for residential use”.
“We want to once again show how the planning system can be responsive to current needs and demands, by removing the need for planning consent where appropriate and thereby provide greater efficiencies in the system.
“All elements of the three sets of proposals brought forward today have the potential to have a very real and positive impact on the people of Wicklow.
“The Joint Oireachtas Committee will discuss these proposals in early 2018 so that the new provisions can be brought into operation as soon as possible.”