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No planning permission required for conversion of vacant pubs into residential property under new regulations

Conor Dunne



The Planning and Development Act (Exempted Development) Regulations 2022 came into operation on 25 February 2022. The new regulations will render conversions of vacant pubs into residential units as exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission.

The new regulations are an extension of existing regulations, the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations, 2018 ("the 2018 Regulations"). Under the 2018 regulations, certain vacant commercial premises, such as shops, offices and guest houses could be converted for residential use without requiring planning permission. The new regulations extend the deadline on the 2018 regulations from end of 2021 to end of 2025 and will now also include vacant pubs.

To qualify for the exemption:
  • The pub's licence must have lapsed;
  • A limit of nine residential units can be constructed in the one building
  • The premises must be vacant for two years or more prior to commencement of development

It is important to note that the commercial premises must have been constructed prior to the commencement of the 2018 regulations, which is on or before 8 February 2018. The new regulations are implemented pursuant to the Government's "Housing For All" plan which aims to provide 300,000 new homes by 2030. The regulations demonstrate an increasing willingness by the legislators to introduce innovative measures to meet this target whilst providing pub owners forced out of business by the Covid 19 pandemic with an opportunity to put their property to profitable use without the costs and delays associated with planning.

Written by Conor Dunne.

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