Minister unveils further changes to contentious planning-law overhaul

Draft legislation set for Cabinet approval bars resident groups from taking High Court cases against decisions

The Government is to proceed with plans to compel property owners and developers to share the uplift in land value after a rezoning decision, along with an extensive overhaul of planning legislation going before the Cabinet on Tuesday.

In addition to the Planning and Development Bill, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien will introduce updates to the proposed Land Value Sharing and Urban Development Zone Bill.

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Under the latter, which is expected to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny early next year, landowners will make a land value sharing contribution, which is a percentage of the increase of the value of land once it is rezoned as residential, likely to be up to 30 per cent.

Similar measures were proposed as far back as the early 1970s in the Kenny report, a landmark document on controlling property prices, but were never advanced.


The Bill also allows for Urban Development Zones to be designated in a similar manner to Strategic Development Zones. They will have expedited planning approvals but involve greater planning at an earlier stage, according to Government sources.

On Monday, Mr O’Brien said his overhaul of planning legislation would increase the power of local authorities to make compulsory purchase orders, including measures to clarify how they can acquire vacant or derelict properties.

Draft laws set for Cabinet approval on Tuesday will make it more difficult for objectors to challenge planning decisions, with residents’ associations to be barred from taking High Court actions against planning decisions.

The Minister claimed the legislation would “respect the rights of people to make their views known and to make objections” including if residents “wished to go further to the courts”.

He added: “But we can’t have a situation whereby really important housing developments and strategic infrastructure is held up for years.”

The Minister said planning was being brought back to local authorities “where it should be, and people can make their views known to local authorities, then to An Bord Pleanála, and should they wish to go further they’ll be able to do so under this legislation”.

Facing a no-confidence vote being tabled against him by People Before Profit on Tuesday, the Minister said he was “looking forward to the debate” and described the motion as a “stunt”.

“Housing is the biggest single issue that society faces — to be able to provide affordable homes, social homes, to get supply up to meet demand,” he said, adding that his party would “put forward our own position during the debate”.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times