Search

22 May 2022

No planning permission needed for conversion of vacant Carlow pubs into homes under new regulations

New regulations will aim to increase the re-use of vacant commercial buildings in Carlow

The exemptions aim to increase the re-use of vacant commercial buildings in Carlow and elsewhere to increase much-needed housing supply and renew urban areas

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, has signed Planning Regulations that will exempt the conversion of former pubs into residential units from requiring planning permission.

The move has been welcomed by his cabinet colleague, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Nonnan TD.

The new exemption is contained in an extension of 2018 Planning Regulations that allow a change of use of certain vacant commercial premises - including vacant areas above ground-floor premises - to residential use such as ‘above shop’ living.

The exemptions aim to increase the re-use of vacant commercial buildings in Carlow and elsewhere to increase much-needed housing supply and renew urban areas. Since 2018, 25 residential units have been provided in county Carlow through 12 notifications of exempted developments. The regulations signed by Minister O’Brien extend the exemption to the end of 2025.  

For the conversion of former pubs into a home/homes in Carlow:

  • The pub’s license must have lapsed
  • A limit of 9 residential units can be produced under an exempted development

The review and extension of these planning regulations fulfils a commitment made in Housing for All, the Government’s national plan on housing to 2030.

The plan contains a range of actions and measures to ensure over 300,000 new social, affordable, cost rental and private homes are built by 2030, backed by over €20 billion in guaranteed State investment to the end of 2026. Data shows that the construction of almost 31,000 homes commenced in 2021, a 42% increase on the numbers constructed in 2020.     

Commenting after signing the regulations, Minister O’Brien said: 

“Turning vacant properties into occupied homes is a major element of Housing for All. Unfortunately towns and villages in Carlow have seen pubs close their doors for the last time in recent years, not least over the last two years.

“This new planning regulation will ease the planning burden for those who want to convert small and medium-sized pubs that are no longer viable and have ceased to operate, into residential housing for Carlow.

“The regulations will also continue to make it easier to get other forms of vacant commercial premises in Carlow, including vacant spaces over ground floor premises, back into use for residential purposes such as ‘over the shop’ living.”    

The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, said:

“This change in planning permission regulations, making it easier for the conversion of former pubs into residential units, is significant. It compliments this Government’s Housing for All policy and dovetails nicely with our just-launched Town Centres First Policy.

“The issue of vacancy, both above-shop and retail, has had a huge impact on the vibrancy of our town centres and, along with a range of recent grant and incentive programmes on heritage-led regeneration and mobility, feeds into the welcome rethinking of our urban centres that is happening now post pandemic.”    

The Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, who also worked on these planning regulations, added:

“Since 2018, 25 homes have been provided from exempting the conversion of certain vacant commercial premises in Carlow.

“I believe there is great potential for even more vacant properties to be converted into residential units through these regulations. Increased awareness of these exemptions, including through the work of Carlow County Council, will help get more vacant properties back into use.

“This measure supports the Government’s other measures to tackle vacancy, including increased funding for full-time Vacant Homes Officers in Carlow County Council and other local authorities, and the launch of a Town Centre First policy, which will revitalise town centres and their buildings.” 

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.


Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.