Still no timeline to lift restrictive planning rules

Changes to restrictive planning rules for those building in the countryside will be published “shortly”, according to ROI Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, meaning locals only provisions are to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

In this article we cover:

  • Why there is a delay to publishing the draft guidelines
  • What they might contain
  • Why the guidelines prevent people from building in the countryside

There is still no timeline for the publication of the Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines consultation document, according to ROI Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Kieran O’Donnell.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien told Selfbuild at the National Ploughing Championship that he gave responsibility to the Minister of State to progress the matter.

The Minister of State O’Donnell in turn told Selfbuild the consultation document to review the sustainable rural housing guidelines is still with the Attorney General’s office, to check the proposal complies with EU law.

He said the public consultation would be “published shortly” but refused to give a timeline.

The Minister of State said he didn’t want to pre-empt what might be in the public consultation and when asked if people in rural areas would continue to be allowed to build their home in rural Ireland, he said “that’s the intention” adding that the feedback from the public consultation would be important. He said he wanted to give the time to the AG to “do it right”.

Minister of State O’Donnell said at the self-build launch of the First Home Scheme, which will help fund self-build projects at a low cost: “What we’ve done here today is a firm statement from this government that we want people to live in their areas, to live in rural Ireland in a sustainable way.”

The current version of the Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines for Planning Authorities, dated 2005, can make it difficult for people who want to build a home in the countryside come. Colloquially known as locals only rules, planning authorities in rural areas have been known to refuse planning permission for a one-off house because of a lack of ties to the land or the area.

Each local authority is responsible for developing its own zoning and planning rules, through their local County Development Plan. However, the local authorities are required to follow national planning guidance including the National Planning Framework, the Climate Action Plan and in the case of rural housing specifically, the Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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