The Planning and Development, Maritime and Valuation (Amendment) Bill 2022 (the Bill) was passed by Seanad Éireann on the 14th July 2022. The Bill has been introduced to amend the Planning and Development Act 2000 (2000 Act).
The Bill significantly amends the judicial review provisions in the 2000 Act. Once enacted, the court will be required to consider whether there is an adequate appeal or other administrative remedy available to the applicant and if so, it should not grant leave for judicial review. It is also proposed to provide for an effective presumption that the matter can be remitted back to An Bord Pleanála at the commencement of the legal proceedings. The purpose of this is to recognise that errors can be corrected quickly and delays can be avoided. In effect, an appeal, rather than a judicial review challenge, should be the default position in the first instance.
Despite some concerns the Bill has been passed by the Seanad and will now go before the President to be signed into law.
In addition to the above, the Bill aims to streamline the Substitute Consent process in the planning system. This will encourage the regularisation and remediation of unauthorised developments in certain exceptional circumstances. The Bill introduces amendments, which will allow flexibility in planning applications where final details of developments may be unconfirmed at the application stage.
The Bill also includes measures to bring more homes back into to the long-term rental market in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs). From the 1st September 2022, online platforms will not be able to advertise properties in RPZs which do not have the requisite planning permission. Non-compliance with these provisions will be an offence for both the individual property owners and the online platforms. Commenting on the reforms, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien said that ‘Government are acutely aware of the pressures on the rental market at present and we expect that these new and significant controls will help to ease that pressure’.
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