18 May 2022

Planning guidelines uncertainly causing 'anxiety' for rural families - TD

Planning guidelines uncertainly causing 'anxiety' for rural families - TD

Planning guidelines uncertainly causing 'anxiety' for rural families - TD

Independent Offaly TD Carol Nolan has called on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, to provide a clear and immediate timeline for the publication of the new Rural Planning Guidelines.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after it was confirmed that the Working Group established by the department to issue recommendations on the matter has yet to issue its final report to local authorities:

“This is an issue that is creating serious levels of anxiety and uncertainty for rural families, and farming families in particular, who want to be able to develop and build a home on their land," Deputy Nolan said.

"When I raised the matter with the Minister in June he [Minister Murphy] said that he expected the publication of the new Guidelines to be completed soon.

"Yet despite the Minister's assurances and despite the fact that the Working Group examining the matter was established almost three years ago in 2017, we seem to be no closer to the date of publication and the kind of clarity people are asking for.

"The Government's general housing trend in the last number of years and especially its vision contained in ‘Project Ireland 2040: National Planning Framework’ – has been to prioritise so-called ‘cluster living’ around towns and villages.

"While this is fine, up to a point, it should not be used to create a blanket ban on one-off rural housing or the capacity of rural families to make their own choices around where they want to live; and especially if by doing so they can maintain the viability of the family farm.

"So far we know that The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government intends to provide further guidance to local authorities later this year on the revisions it is making to the 2005 rural housing guidelines.

"What I’m saying is that further delays are not acceptable given the impact and the uncertainty they are creating,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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