No planning needed to convert pubs

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    Empty and derelict pubs in Waterford can now be converted into houses without the need for planning permission.

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

    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 Waterford and elsewhere to increase much-needed housing supply and renew urban areas.

    Since 2018, 74 residential units have been provided in county Waterford through 25 notifications of exempted developments. The regulations extend the exemption to the end of 2025.

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

    • the pub’s license must have lapsed
    • a limit of nine residential units can be produced under an exempted development

    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 €20bn 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.

    Speaking during a visit to Waterford, Minister O’Brien said: “Turning vacant properties into occupied homes is a major element of Housing for All.

    “Unfortunately towns and villages in Waterford 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 Waterford.”

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