Chapter 4: Sustainable Housing

opendate_range28 Sep, 2020, 9:00am - 9 Dec, 2020, 4:00pm

4.1 Introduction 

There are many housing challenges in the country at present. These challenges include a housing supply shortage, in particular social housing, pressure on the rental sector and challenges presented by affordability and availability of finance for those who wish to purchase their own homes. The Council, as a housing authority and a planning authority, has multiple roles to play in the management and delivery of housing in the county. 

As a housing authority, the Council’s role includes the provision and management of rented local authority housing, the promotion of home ownership through tailored schemes and facilitating approved voluntary or non-profit housing organisations in the provision of rented accommodation and facilities. 

As a planning authority, the Council’s role is to guide the location, nature and quality of new housing development within its administrative area and to comply with its statutory obligations to ensure housing developments conform to relevant Government guidelines. Through its statutory land use plans and development management functions, the Council ensures that sufficient and appropriate land is zoned for residential development, secures the delivery of social housing through the implementation of Part V, and manages the development of housing in all areas of the county.  This chapter provides the spatial planning framework and objectives to deliver sustainable housing in the county. 

4.2 Climate Action and Housing

The Council will focus on inter alia: 

  • Applying the new NZEB building standards for all new residential dwellings (houses and apartments). NZEB homes are 70% more energy efficient and emit 70% less carbon dioxide than those built under previous building regulations.  
  • Directing new housing development away from areas at risk of flooding and/or coastal erosion.
  • Requiring planning applications for housing to demonstrate that climate change adaptation has been considered in the siting, layout and design of the proposal.

4.3 Policy Context

The focus of current national housing policy is primarily on securing solutions to the housing supply issues that are prevalent across the country and the shortfall in all types of housing and tenure, both social and private.  These national policy responses transcend both of the Council’s roles. 

Rebuilding Ireland – An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness

The most significant policy document ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ was designed to accelerate housing supply in the country and to tackle the country’s housing shortage. It is an action-driven plan which is focused on five inter-related pillars: 

  • Pillar 1 – Address Homelessness 
  • Pillar 2 – Accelerate Social Housing
  • Pillar 3 – Build More Homes
  • Pillar 4 – Improve the Rental Sector 
  • Pillar 5 – Utilise Existing Housing

The plan sets out a series of measures and targets by the Government that aim to increase and accelerate the delivery of housing across the country. There is a target to double the annual level of construction to 25,000 units by 2020 and to deliver 47,000 units of social housing up to 2021. 

The plan seeks to improve the rental sector by striving to make rent more affordable and creating an attractive, viable, and sustainable private rented sector. As part of this strategy ‘Build to Rent’ and ‘Shared Accommodation’ have emerged. 

  • ‘Build to Rent’ developments are large scale developments that have the potential to deliver residential accommodation at a pace and scale significantly greater than that of the more traditional developments. 
  •  ‘Shared accommodation or ‘Co-Living’ consists of professionally managed rental accommodation where individual rooms are rented within an overall development that includes access to shared or communal facilities and amenities. 

National Planning Framework – Project 2040

The NPF sets out the long term vision for Ireland’s future housing which is to “balance the provision of good quality housing that meets the needs of a diverse population, in a way that makes cities, towns, villages and rural areas good places to live now and in the future”1. The NPF also sets out core principles to guide the delivery of future housing at every level of Governance and which have been incorporated in this chapter.

Key NPOs include:

  • NPO 33 - prioritises the provision of new homes at locations that can support sustainable development and at an appropriate scale of provision relative to the location. 
  • NPO 34 - supports the provision of lifetime adaptable homes that can accommodate the changing needs of a household over time. 
  • NPO 35 - increase residential density in settlements, through a range of measures including reductions in vacancy, re-use of existing buildings, infill development schemes, area or site-based regeneration and increased building heights. 
  • NP0 37 - a Housing Need Demand Assessment (NHDA) to be undertaken for each local authority area in order to correlate and accurately align future housing requirements. 

 The NPF outlines that in addition to the significant investment in social housing, there is also a need to ensure that more affordable homes are built for sale or rent, particularly in cities, towns and villages, enabling people to choose to live within their communities and closer to where they work. This will be facilitated through more proactive land management and provision of enabling infrastructure, particularly on local authority and State owned land. There is also a need to provide flexibility on design and density, particularly in urban cores to enable more cost-efficient construction and a variety of homes aimed at first time buyers. 

Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region

The RSES reinforces the importance of focusing on the five pillars of Rebuilding Ireland, with RPO 32 implementing these provisions. The RSES also outlines the need to diversify the housing mix and typologies and to use the HNDA to provide a robust evidence base to assist with developing long-term strategic views of housing needs across all tenures and typologies. The RSES supports the role of the Land Development Agency in co-ordinating land for housing delivery and the use by local authorities of active land management functions such as CPO to make land available for new housing. 

Section 28 Guidelines

Recent Section 28 Guidelines have also been provided to assist with increasing housing output. The ‘Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines for Planning Authorities’ published in 2018 build on the strategic policy framework set out in the NPF which supports higher densities and more compact urban growth. The ‘Design Standards for New Apartments Guidelines for Planning Authorities’ were updated in 2018 and the amendments aim to enable a mix of apartment types, make better provision for building refurbishment and infill schemes, and address the emerging ‘build to rent’ and ‘shared accommodation’ sectors.

The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 

The purpose of this Act was to bring forward land in areas in which housing is required and in areas which are in need of renewal to prevent it lying idle or remaining vacant. The Act provides for the Vacant Site Levy and a register of vacant sites in areas in which housing is required and in areas in need of renewal. 

The Act resulted in significant changes to the delivery of social housing under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). The social housing obligation was lowered from 20% to 10%. As set out in Circular 36, 2015 the 6 options now available to developers (See Section 4.6.1).

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016

The Act introduced measures to streamline the planning process to speed up the delivery of housing by introducing arrangements for fast track planning applications for strategic housing development (SHDs). These are developments of 100 or more housing units, student accommodation of 200 or more bed spaces, or shared accommodation developments of 200 or more bed spaces and the planning applications are made directly to An Bord Pleanála for determination. 

This Act also introduced Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) and brought in a Rent Predictability Measure to cap rent increases at 4% per year in RPZs. To date, Gorey Electoral Area is the only designated RPZ in the county and the designation remains in place until the 31st December 2021 (unless extended). Within areas designated as RPZs legislation has been introduced requiring planning permission where a person intends to let their property for short-term letting purposes. 

This chapter has been framed around the NPF, the RSES and the five pillars of Rebuilding Ireland and it has been informed by the aforementioned recent legislative and policy measures.

4.4 Sustainable Housing Strategy

4.4.1 Goal

Housing that is appropriate to the needs of the occupant, in a location that has convenient access to essential services and which supports engagement in social and recreational activities is a key component in the delivery of sustainable communities. In this regard, the overall housing goal of the Council is “to ensure that every household in County Wexford will have access to secure, good quality housing suited to their needs at an affordable prices in a sustainable community”. 

Land use planning can be effectively used to ensure that future housing is delivered at the right locations, land is efficiently used and developed at an appropriate scale and density and the resulting new housing and its residents can integrate easily and successfully into the local community and settlement.

Using the key principles from the NPF this goal will be achieved as follows:

  • Ensuring a high standard of housing and quality of life for future residents as well as environmentally and socially sustainable housing and place making through integrated planning and consistently excellent design. 
  • The location of new housing, including housing for older people and people with disabilities, is to be prioritised in existing settlements to allow people better access to services, ensuring a more efficient use of land and allowing for greater integration with existing infrastructure. 
  • The scale and nature of future housing provision is to be tailored to the size and type of settlement where it is planned to be located. 
  • Providing for choice in housing type, tenure and accommodation, responding to need and continuing to require the development of lifetime homes as part of residential schemes. 
  • Utilising existing housing stock to meet future demand.

Strategic Housing Objectives

It is the objective of the Council:

Objective SH01

To ensure that new residential developments contribute to and represent sustainable neighbourhoods which are inclusive and responsive to the physical or cultural needs of those who use them, are well-located relative to the social, community, commercial and administrative services and are integrated with the community within which it will be located.

Objective SH02

To ensure that all new residential developments provide a high quality living environment with attractive and efficient buildings which are located in a high quality public realm and are serviced by well-designed and located open spaces.

Objective SH03 

To seek to facilitate all households to access good quality housing appropriate to the household circumstances and in their particular community of choice. The Council’s priority will be on meeting the most acute needs- those unable to provide for their accommodation from their own resources or are otherwise in need of housing or housing supports.

Objective SH04 

To ensure that new residential developments minimises the use of natural resources and impacts on natural assets. The locations selected for residential developments should maximise the potential to use of sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The design of residential units and associated services should maximise the use of renewable energy and minimise the use of water.

4.5 Housing Requirements 

4.5.1 Housing for All

The aim for all new housing and, where possible, housing conversions and refurbishments will be to deliver homes that are universally designed and easily adapted to meet the changing needs of a household over time. This will provide greater choice in terms of where people live, and will enable them to remain in their own homes as their needs change. By incorporating features into dwellings that enable adaptation, and with careful consideration as to the layout and provision of adequate space for people to manoeuvre, dwellings will be suitable for as broad a range of households and visitors as possible.

The Council has been very proactive in the area of universal access and lifetime homes, requiring 20% of residential schemes of five units or more to be lifetime homes. In support of NPO 34, the Council will continue to apply to this policy standard and will require access statements2 to be submitted with planning applications for residential schemes of five units or more (Refer to Section 3, Volume 2 Development Management Manual).

4.5.2 Housing Needs

The purpose of the County Wexford Housing Strategy (Volume 9) is to ensure that the CDP provides for the housing of the existing and future population of the area in the manner set out in the strategy.  This included identifying existing and likely future housing needs. 

In support of NPO 37, the preparation of the Housing Strategy was informed by a broad based3 Housing Need Demand Assessment (HNDA). The HNDA and the Housing Strategy identified the following housing need during the lifetime of the CDP:

Based on the traditional Department of Environment and Local Government Model Housing Strategy4 annuity formula, the Housing Strategy identified that 537 of the 6,488 additional households during the plan period will not meet the affordability criteria for home ownership throughout the plan period which is equivalent to 8.3% of the total of additional households in County Wexford.

Table 4-1 Summary of Social (and Affordable) Housing Requirements 2021-2027
 

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

Total

Additional Anticipated Households

918

928

938

943

956

967

838

6,488

Social (and Affordable) Housing Requirements

48

56

64

75

90

104

100

537

% (as a Total of Additional Anticipated Households)

5.26%

5.99%

6.77%

7.93%

9.45%

10.76%

11.96%

8.3%

Further analysis was undertaken to reflect the HNDA requirements as set out in the NPF and described in detail in Section 4.4 of the Housing Strategy. This analysis focused on the additional anticipated households in order to examine aspects such as the Central Bank Rules for qualifying for a mortgage, private rental as well as indications on household composition, tenure and dwelling type.

This analysis determined that 2,476 of the 6,488 additional anticipated households will not qualify for a mortgage during the plan period owing to the Central Bank Rules (refer to see Section 4.4.1 in the Housing Strategy for further detail). It was also determined that 2,141 of the 6,488 additional households will not meet the affordability criteria for private rental during the plan period.

Table 4-2 Overview of Mortgage Qualification and Private Rental Affordability for Additional Anticipated Households in County Wexford5
 

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

Total

Anticipated Households that Do Not Qualify for a Mortgage to Purchase the Cheapest Property

283

286

332

373

395

399

406

2,476

Anticipated Households Not Able to Afford Private Rental (based on RTB Demand allocation by Unit Type)

243

293

296

298

336

345

329

2,141

Having regard to the difference in numbers between the traditional model and the new HNDA calculations, it is considered that the application of at least 10% Part V contribution is justified. The Council will work to influence Government policy to increase the amount allowed to be charged to reflect that identified in the HNDA (circa. 38%).

The HNDA also provides important information with regard to the household sizes which is set out in Table 4-3.

Table 4-3 Forecasts for Household Size of the Additional Anticipated Households in County Wexford 2021-20276
 

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

Total

1 person household

90

92

94

96

98

100

80

651

2 person household

202

205

207

209

212

215

183

1,433

3 person household

176

177

178

179

181

182

153

1,226

4 person household

230

233

237

239

244

248

214

1,645

5+ person household

221

221

221

220

221

222

206

1,532

The HNDA also provides forecasts for dwelling type during the plan period. This is set out in Table 4-4. Section 4.7.5 provides further details of the breakdown of house types that will be pursued in new residential developments in the county.

Table 4-4 Forecasts for Dwelling Type of Additional Anticipated Households in County Wexford 2021-20277
 

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

Total

1 Bed

70

71

71

71

72

73

54

483

2 Bed

290

293

296

296

300

303

238

2,016

3 Bed

395

400

405

407

413

418

378

2,817

4+ Bed

162

164

166

168

171

173

168

1,172

Total

917

928

938

942

956

967

838

6,488

4.6 Locations for Future Housing 

In line with the NPF the Planning Authority will direct new residential development to the county’s towns, villages and rural settlements in accordance with the Core Strategy and the Settlement Strategy in Chapter 3.
  
The NPF also includes an objective that at least 30% of all new homes should be delivered within the existing built-up footprint of settlements. This will be complied with when local area plans are being prepared for the towns of the County.  

The Council supports and recognises the important role that serviced sites in the county’s villages would provide. These sites would provide an attractive alternative to single rural housing and contribute to the vitality of these villages. In line with NPO 18b the Council will work with Irish Water and other infrastructure bodies and explore other possible options to deliver the new homes in small towns and villages programme (See Chapter 9 for further details). 

With regard to apartments, this type of development will generally be acceptable in town centres, at appropriate scales. Small apartment schemes may be considered in village centres and the scale will depend on the characteristics and size of the village. However, in the Small Villages (Level 5 Settlement Hierarchy), the provision of apartments will be restricted to the conversion of an existing building e.g. the use of the first floor over a shop or hairdressers for an apartment.   

Single housing in the open countryside will only be considered where it is for those with a demonstrable economic or social functional need to live there as set out in Section 4.9 and Table 4-6.

Locations for Future Housing Objectives

It is the objective of the Council: 

Objective SH05  

To prioritise the provision of new housing in existing settlements and at an appropriate scale and density relative to the location in accordance with the National Planning Framework,  the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region and the Core Strategy and the Settlement Strategy in the CDP.

Objective SH06

To consider the provision of services sites for residential development in the county’s villages subject to sustainable and appropriate water services solutions being put in place in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and subject to compliance with all other relevant planning and environmental criteria.

4.7 Future Housing Delivery 

The Council will utilise the following spatial planning mechanisms to assist with the delivery of the required housing units

4.7.1 Implementation of the County Housing Strategy

The implementation of the County Housing Strategy (Volume 9), and in particular, agreements under Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) will play a significant role in providing new social housing units on residential zoned land in the county, thereby contributing to the acceleration of social housing supply.  

The Housing Strategy outlines that the identified social housing units will be delivered via a number of mechanisms including:

  • Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).
  • Direct construction by the local authority and approved housing bodies (AHBs).
  • Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), Social Housing Lease Initiatives and Housing Assistance Payments (HAPs).
  • Purchase of new or second-hand residential units.

Under Section 96 (3) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) there are now 6 options available to developers:

  1. Transfer of lands; 
  2. Build and transfer of up to 10% of the proposed housing units; 
  3. Transfer of housing units on any other land in the functional area of the planning authority; 
  4. Lease of housing units either on the site subject to the application or in any other area within the functional area of the planning authority;
  5. Combination of a transfer of land and one of more of the other options; and
  6. Combination of options not involving a transfer of the ownership of land.

The Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 – Section 28 Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2017) provides guidance to local authorities regarding the fulfilment of Part V agreements as part of the development management process, highlighting the importance of engagement at the early preplanning stage. The guidelines indicate that the priority option which should be pursued by local authorities is the acquisition of social housing on the development site, by means of transfer of ownership to the local authority or to an AHB in order to advance the aim of achieving a social mix in new developments. The Council will continue to work closely with developers to secure the delivery of Part V and the implementation of the Housing Strategy. 

4.7.2 Housing Land Management 

4.7.2.1 Density of Residential Developments

Residential densities will generally be applied in accordance with the Sustainable Residential Guidelines for Urban and Rural Areas. 

Table 4-1 sets out the indicative densities that will be applied to residential developments in Levels 1-4 of the Settlement Hierarchy. This table is provided for guidance purposes only. As outlined in the Core Strategy, the LAPs for the Key Towns and Large Towns will specify the densities that will apply to specific sites/areas within those plans . 

Table 4-5 Indicative Density and Scale Levels 1-4 in the Settlement Hierarchy

Level No.

Settlement Type

Units/Ha

1

Key Towns

25 units/ha

2

Large Towns

25 units/ha

3

Service Settlements

25 units/ha for zoned settlements. The density in the remaining settlements at this level will be determined by reference to the settlement size and the guiding densities set out in Chapter 6 of the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Residential Guidelines in Urban Areas (DELG, 2009).

In line with the Core Strategy and with the exception of Rosslare Harbour and Kilrane, the population of each settlement is not to grow by more than 30% by 2040. Accordingly, the combined permitted residential development should not increase the population of a settlement by more than 20% of its 2016 population during the lifetime of this Plan.

The appropriate scale/number of units in each residential scheme will be determined based on the scale and characteristics of the individual settlement.

4

Large Villages

12 units/ha

In line with the Core Strategy, the population of each settlement is not to grow by more than 30% by 2040. Accordingly, the combined permitted residential development should not increase the population of a settlement by more than 20% of its 2016 population over the period of this Plan.

In general, in villages with a population of <400 people, the scheme size should be no more than 10-12 units, and in villages with a population of >400 people, the scheme size should between 10-15 units. 

 

Levels 5-6 Settlements 


The appropriate scale of residential development in these settlements will be considered in accordance with the guiding principles below and on a case-by-case basis having regard to the character, function and size of that settlement.

Level 5 Settlements

Category 1 Villages: In general, the guiding principle is the combined permitted residential development should not increase the settlement’s population in 2016 by more than 20% over the period of this Plan.   Each residential scheme should be no more than 10-12 units.

Category 2 Villages: In general, the guiding principle is the combined permitted residential development should not increase the population of a settlement by more than 25 people/10 houses during the lifetime of this Plan in order to protect the character of the settlements. The size of each residential scheme will be considered on a case-by-case basis having regard to the scale and characteristics of the settlement.

In deciding on the appropriate scale and density of development in the Level 5 settlements, the development will be considered having regard to the Sustainable Residential Guidelines and will depend on number of factors including the: 

  • The population of the settlement and the scale of the proposal relevant to the existing population. 
  • Contribution to the enhancement of the village form by reinforcing the street pattern or assisting in the redevelopment of back land sites. 
  • Contribution to the protection of the architectural and environmental qualities of the village. 
  • The availability of infrastructure including appropriate waste water treatment facilities, water supply and education facilities.

Level 6 Rural Nodes

In general, the guiding principle is that no more than 5-10 houses will be permitted in a rural node during the period of this Plan. An exception to this may be considered where it is demonstrated that an additional dwelling(s) can be accommodated without detracting from the rural character of the node. 

4.7.2.2 Ready-to-go land

The availability of a good supply of ready-to-go development land is an important component in the housing supply chain as it helps to deliver housing units. The purpose of zoning land for residential development is to secure the production of that housing. The quantum of residential zoned land in the county is set by the Core Strategy. With the building of more houses a key pillar of ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, it is important that all residential zoned land can be developed, rather than some of the Core Strategy quantum being ‘tied to’ lands that will not be developed for reasons including land ownership or infrastructural constraints.   

In this regard, the NPF sets out a new three-tiered approach to land zoning:

  • Tier 1 land is ready for development;
  • Tier 2 lands can be serviced within the six year life of the plan but are currently constrained due the need to deliver some infrastructure; and 
  • Tier 3 lands are unlikely to be or can’t be serviced during the life of the plan.  

The preparation of local area plans will critically examine all existing residential zoned lands, in particular, historically zoned lands that remain undeveloped, to determine whether similar well-located and ready-to go but unzoned lands are available. 

The Council will apply the NPF approach to ensure that (a) sufficient land is zoned for residential development, (b) this land is available, serviced and ready-to go, and (c) the building of more houses will be secured. 

The phased development of land is also important in achieving the timely and efficient delivery of housing and this will be linked to the tiered approach to residential land use zoning in accordance with the methodology set out in the NPF. 

4.7.2.3 Active Land Management

The Council will use its available powers to manage the supply of land for housing. This includes the Vacant Sites Levy and CPO powers and is further discussed in Chapter 5 Towns and Villages.

4.7.2.4 Land Development Agency

The Land Development Agency has been established to coordinate and develop key state owned lands for regeneration and development, and to drive strategic land assembly working with public and private sector land owners to promote the delivery of housing and other development. It is envisaged the agency will have Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and other legislative powers to allow a more proactive land management role. The Council will work with the Agency to activate key sites and lands that will assist with the delivery of housing. 

4.7.2.5 Compact Growth

The development of land at higher densities to achieved compact growth will contribute to a greater yield in housing units. The density provisions allocated to each level in the Settlement Hierarchy is set out in Chapter 3 Core Strategy. Compact growth is further discussed in Chapter 5 Towns and Villages. 

4.7.3 Utilise Existing Stock

The Council will continue to encourage the utilisation of existing housing stock and its refurbishment. The Council's Vacant Homes Strategy and Action Plan, 2018-2021 indicated that there were 5,918 vacant houses in the county.  It outlined the methodology to be undertaken to confirm the level of vacancy, and measures to be pursued to bring vacant home backs into use. 

The change of use of vacant commercial properties to residential use will also be considered at appropriate locations and in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. ‘Bringing Back Homes – Manual for Reuse of Existing Buildings’ (DHPLG 2018) was developed to support and facilitate the reuse of older/vacant buildings in our towns and villages for residential use. The Manual recognises that revitalising main streets through well-planned and designed residential units, particularly above shops, could help to rejuvenate smaller town and village centres (see Chapter 5 Towns and Villages for further details).

The Planning and Development (Amendment) (No 2) 2018 (S.I. No. 30 of 2018) provides an exemption, for a period of time, for the change of use, and related works, of vacant commercial premises for residential purposes. This exemption allows the change of use of vacant commercial units in urban areas, including vacant or under-utilised areas over ground floor premises, into residential units without having to go through the planning process. This will facilitate the provision of increased and much needed housing supply, maximise the use of vacant under-utilised spaces and assist in the rejuvenation of the core of urban areas. The exemption can be availed for until the 31st December 2021 and is subject to a list of conditions and limitations. 

4.7.4 Housing Tenure

Housing tenure is described as owner occupied accommodation and rented accommodation and is either provided privately or by public housing bodies. 

Census 2016 confirmed that home ownership rates in the county remain high, with 71.5% of the households in the county owner occupied. This was considerably higher than the State average of 67.7%.  The Census indicated that the private rental sector is expanding in the county.  The rate of private rented properties was 14.6%, and while this figure is lower than the State average 18.2%, the rate of growth in the county (3.7%) was more than twice the State average (1.4%). There was a clear spatial distribution to the private rented sector with highest rates and numbers all located in the main settlements.

It is also apparent that the private rental housing market is heavily subsidised by state funding in the form of Housing Assistance Payments (HAP), the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and Rent Supplement.

There is a need to focus on both tenures in future housing provision.  The shift towards the rented tenure highlights the need to improve the rental sector by increasing the supply of units at affordable rents across all types of housing types, i.e. houses and apartments. 

Apartments play a role in increasing housing supply and meeting demand, particularly the rental sector. Apartments may be made available for sale, where for owner occupation or for rent, or more recent housing models that are built specifically for rental purposes (e.g. ‘Build to Rent’ or ‘Shared Accommodation’. 

Housing for students is a specific component of the rented housing sector with distinct characteristics and requirements. The location of purpose built student accommodation needs to be as close  as possible to the centre of education, as well as being connected to accessible infrastructure such as walking, cycling and public transport. The Council will encourage the provision of student accommodation alongside any future development of third-level education campuses in the county.

4.7.5 House Types

The HNDA, which informed the Housing Strategy, identifies the need for a mix of house types to reflect the diverse housing needs of the existing and future population. A need for one and two bedroom properties is particularly evident. 

Houses

Houses will continue to be the preferred house type for many households in the county. 
The HNDA indicates that there is a need to provide a mix of unit sizes to accommodate the future composition of households in the county . In this regard, where a residential scheme is proposed with houses, the development should provide for the following house type mix, except in cases where SPPR 2 of the Apartment Guidelines for Planning Authorities applies 

  • 25% two-bedroom houses
  • 30% three-bedroom houses 
  • 30% four-bedroom/five-bedroom houses 
  • 15% to be allocated to any of the above based on evidence of demand. 

This standard will be applied to schemes of  25 or more units. The Planning Authority will consider a deviation from the above housing type mix where local requirements and/or market evidence suggest that a different housing mix is required.

Apartments

All apartment developments in the county, where private or public, must comply with the new Apartments Guidelines. The Guidelines include nine Specific Planning Policy Requirements (SPPRs) which must be complied with, and these have been incorporated where relevant into the CDP.  The Guidelines also introduced two new concepts - ‘Build to Rent’ apartments and ‘Shared Accommodation/Co-Living. 

‘Built to Rent’ Apartments
The emerging ‘Build to Rent’ sector offers new opportunities to increase the scale and pace of delivery of new housing. BTR is defined as ‘purpose-built residential accommodation and associated amenities built specifically for long-term rental that is managed and serviced in an institutional manner by an institutional landlord.’ With BTR, once constructed, the overall scheme is available to the rental sector over a much shorter timescale on completion and the investment model is therefore capable of delivering a much higher volume of housing than traditional models. 

While large scale BTR development is more likely to occur in cities and large urban areas, the Council will give consideration to this housing model in the Key and Large towns, at an appropriate scale. These schemes must comply with SPPR 7 and 8 in the Apartment Guidelines where relevant. 

Shared Accommodation/’Co Living’
This a new format of residential accommodation which comprises professionally managed rental accommodation, where individual rooms are rented within an overall development that includes access to shared or communal facilities and amenities. Due to the distinct nature and features of the Shared Accommodation type development, it is only appropriate where responding to an identified urban housing need at particular locations, e.g. short term employee accommodation needs and accommodation for students. This type of accommodation is not suitable for families. The Council will give consideration to this housing model in the central areas of Key and Large towns, at an appropriate scale.

Unit Mix in Apartment Developments
Having regard to SPPR 1 in the Apartment Guidelines, the following standard shall be complied with  in either an apartment only scheme or a mixed residential schemes including both houses and apartments:

  • Apartment developments may include up to 50% one-bedroom or studio type units (with no more than 20-25% of the total proposed development as studios, and there shall be no minimum required for apartments with three or more bedrooms. 
  • Compliance with SPPR 1 of the Apartment Guidelines take precedence over compliance with any other house mix standard in this Plan, save for the requirements relating to compliance with SPPR 2 in the Guidelines. 

Building Refurbishment Schemes

In line with SPPR 2 of the Apartment Guidelines, for all building refurbishment schemes on sites of any size, or urban infill schemes on sites of up to 0.25ha, the following standard shall be complied with: 

  • Where up to 9 residential units are proposed, there shall be no restriction on dwelling mix, provided no more than 50% of the development (i.e. up to 4 units) comprises studio-type units; 
  • Where between 10 to 49 residential units are proposed, the flexible dwelling mix provision for the first 9 units may be carried forward and the parameters set out in SPPR 1, shall apply from the 10th residential unit to the 49th; 
  • For schemes of 50 or more units, SPPR 1 in the Apartment Guidelines shall apply to the entire development. 

Compliance with SPPR 2 of the Apartment Guidelines takes precedence over compliance any other house mix standard in this Plan, save for the requirements to comply with SPPR 1 of the Guidelines. 

4.7.9 Unfinished Housing Developments

The Council have been very active in resolving unfinished housing development in the county, and will continue to resolve outstanding issues. 

4.7.10 Place-Making and High Quality Schemes

Well-designed and high quality residential developments will make a significant contribution to the creation of attractive towns and villages and communities where people want to live, work and socialise.  The quality of design and layout of residential development is very important in ensuring that these schemes add to the communities in which they are located and provide a high quality living environment for those who live in them. New residential development should be located and laid out in a way which ensures that they are easily integrated into the existing fabric and structure of the settlements and that natural assets are protected. Further details of the requirements for residential developments are set out in Chapter 5 Towns and Villages and Volume 2 Development Management Manual. 

Future Housing Delivery Objectives

It is the objective of the Council to:

Objective SH07 

To support Government policy and targets under “Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness” and local authority actions that contribute to progress under the key pillars of addressing homelessness, accelerating social housing, building more homes, improving the rental sector and utilising the existing building stock in the county.

Objective SH08

To require the application of Universal Design and Lifetime Housing in accordance with best practice and the policies and principles contained in Buildings for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach (National Disability Authority, 2012) and Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas: Guidelines for Planning Authorities and its companion document Urban Design Manual (DEHLG, 2009).

Objective SH09

To ensure that the zoning of lands for residential use is in accordance with the Core Strategy and Settlement Strategy and is carried out in accordance with the methodology for a Tiered Approach to Land Zoning as set out in the National Planning Framework and in accordance with relevant criteria in the Development Plan Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2007) and the Local Area Plan-Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2012) and any updated version of these guidelines during the lifetime of the Plan.

Objective SH10 

To ensure the development of land is carried out on a phased basis and to identify the priority of land for development in the relevant local area plan and in accordance with the methodology for the Prioritisation of Development Lands in the National Planning Framework and in accordance with the relevant criteria in the Development Plan Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2007) and the Local Area Plan-Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2012) and any updated version of these documents during the lifetime of the Plan.

Objective SH11 

To work with the Land Development Agency to co-ordinate appropriate State owned land and the strategic assembly of public and private land to facilitate regeneration, housing and other developments.

Objective SH12

To undertake Active Land Management (including the use of CPO powers) to manage the supply of land for residential development and ensure suitable zoning is in place to achieve compact, smart, sustainable growth targets within existing urban footprints.

Objective SH13

To ensure the density of residential developments is appropriate to the location of the proposed development having regard to the benefits of ensuring that land is efficiently uses and in accordance with the Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas and the accompanying Urban Design Manual-A Best Practice Guide (DEHLG, 2009) and subject to compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria and the development management standards in Volume 2.

Objective SH14 

To require new apartment developments to comply with the Specific Planning Policy Requirements and standards set out in out in the Apartment Guidelines for Planning Authorities (Department of Housing, Environment and Local Government, 2018), where relevant. Proposals for apartment block developments in excess of 50 units will also be assessed having regard to the nature of existing developments in the area, existing and planned social facilities and the need to ensure that apartment developments contribute to the development of sustainable communities into the future.

Objective SH15  

To require new residential schemes to comply with the Urban Development and Building Height Guidelines for Planning Authorities (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government) 2018 and the specific planning policy requirements set out therein where relevant and the considerations set out in Chapter 5 Towns and Villages.

Objective SH16  

To implement the objectives in the County Wexford Housing Strategy 2021-2027 in  accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended).

Objective SH17

To apply a 10% (or a greater percentage if provided for in future legislation) social housing requirement pursuant to Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) to land zoned for residential use, or for a mixture of residential or other uses, except where the development would be exempted from this requirement. The application of the 10% requirement to particular lands, will be determined both by the provisions of the Act and the requirements of the Housing Strategy.

Objective SH18

To promote and support the implementation of plans and projects to bring back to use vacant homes.  

Objective SH19

To require new build house and apartment schemes and building refurbishment schemes to provide a mix of unit types in accordance with Section 4.6.5 to ensure that there is a range of house types available to suit the needs of the various households in the county.

Objective SH20

To ensure that required physical and/or social infrastructure is provided either prior to or in tandem with new residential developments in the interests of the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

Objective SH21

To ensure that new housing developments contribute to the social or recreation infrastructure of the community in which they will be located, either through the provision of amenities or through financial contribution.

Objective SH22

To ensure the selection of lands or housing units to purchase or lease by the Council, including Part V,  counteracts undue segregation by persons of different social backgrounds.

Objective SH23

To ensure the development of vacant residential and regeneration sites by applying the requirements of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Supply Act 2015 (as amended) on lands zoned in development plans, local area plans and settlements plan as set in Table 5-1 of the Towns and Villages Chapter.

Objective SH24

To promote best practice and innovation in the on-going management and maintenance of all of the Council’s housing stock and the associated public realm.

Objective SH25

To support initiatives to refurbish and retrofit both occupied and vacant residential buildings including smart technologies, energy efficiency and micro renewable systems.

Objective SH26

To apply the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No.2) Regulations 2019 and any other future legislation, circulars or guidelines in this regard issued by the relevant Minister when considering planning applications for the change of use of residential properties for short term letting. 

Objective SH27

To have regard to ‘Managing and Resolving Unfinished Housing Developments-Guidance Manual’ (Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, 2011) when preparing local area plans and assessing planning applications dealing with unfinished housing developments.

Objective SH28

To adopt a flexible approach to planning applications which seek to resolve issues relating to unfinished housing developments and where this would result in substantial environmental or community gain. Such flexibility may include reconfiguration of a development in relation to open space, roads and circulation requirements.

4.8 Specific Housing Needs

The Council will continue to ensure that housing for persons with specific requirements are met in a manner which suits their physical and social needs. 

4.8.1Housing for the Homeless

The Council will continue to work in conjunction with voluntary housing bodies and other agencies to provide emergency accommodation for the homeless and those who find themselves in need of crisis facilities. 

4.8.2 Housing for Older People

As the number of people in the older age cohorts increases greater consideration must be given to the housing needs of older people and to ensure that housing solutions suits their specific physical and social needs. The Government’s Policy Statement on Housing Options for Our Ageing Population (published in 2018) supports the development of housing and services on centrally located sites within urban areas as research shows that good quality, well connected, urban centres with a range and choice of housing tenures and types actively supports ageing in place. Older people can choose housing that is appropriate and responsive to more complex needs which enables them to enjoy more active, healthy and socially connected lives and to age healthily and safely within their community. Simultaneously it is recognised that older people contribute a wealth of skills and experiences that enhance all of our communities bringing significant value across the generations.  

Older people must be offered a range of housing solutions.  A lot of older people will wish to remain in their current homes and live independently. This arrangement in many cases will require alterations to existing properties, and the Council have a role in facilitating such alterations e.g. housing adaptation grant scheme for older people. 

There is an increasing trend of older people moving into sheltered housing/residential care settings/retirement villages as they grow older. The Council recognises the need and importance of these facilities, in particular, the provision of high-quality, small, self-contained living units within a larger complex with shared entertainment, recreation and healthcare facilities. This allows older people to retain their independence and privacy while enjoying daily social interactions and the security of a sheltered living environment. 

These facilities should be located in towns and villages and be located in close proximity to local services such as shops, post office and other community facilities required by the residents of the facility and should be served by accessible footpaths and easy to get to by visitors. The development of these facilities outside of an existing settlement will only be considered where the site is located in close proximity to the settlement, would not comprise an isolated development, the design and scale of the facility is suitable for the location and there are existing or planned accessible pedestrian linkages to the settlements and its services. Planned pedestrian linkages must be delivered either as part of the proposal or prior to the first occupation of the housing facility. 

4.8.3 Housing for People with Disabilities

There needs to be a range of housing solutions available for people with disabilities. The National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability 2011-2016 was reaffirmed and extended to 2020 under Rebuilding Ireland. The strategy provides the framework for the delivery of housing for people with disabilities, and aims to ensure the delivery of this housing is afforded the priority it deserves. The strategy is framed around 9 strategy aims, which inter alia, 

  1. Supports people with a disability to live independently in their own homes and communities, where appropriate. 
  2. For people with intellectual or physical disabilities there is focus on moving away from congregated settings in line with good practice, through the development of frameworks to facilitate housing in the community. 
  3. For people with a mental health disability, there is a focus on facilitating housing in the community for people with low and medium support needs moving from mental health facilities, in line with good practice. 

The Council supports the strategic aims of the strategy and the delivery of independent living solutions for people with disabilities, where possible. The Council oversees the application of the housing adaptation grant which allows many people to remain in their homes and local community. The Council will continue to address particular identified needs through facilitating the provision of purpose-built, adaptable dwellings and standard social housing of housing supports where applicable. The Council will also consider the development of housing in the community such as sheltered housing will facilitate the provision of such facilities at appropriate locations (similar to housing for older people Section 4.8.2). 

4.8.4 Housing for Members of the Travelling Community

The Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019-2024, adopted on the 9th July 2019, identified the requirement to provide or assist in the provision of approximately 100 units across a full range of accommodation types over the period of the programme. Standard local authority accommodation remains the preferred accommodation option for households while four families expressed an interest in Traveller Group Housing in the Wexford Municipal District. The Council will continue to address the provision of accommodation appropriate to the particular needs of Travellers through the implementation of the programme which is subject to the necessary funding being available. 

Specific Housing Needs Objectives

It is the objective of the Council: 

Objective SH 29

To ensure that groups with specific  housing needs such as older people, people with disabilities, the homeless and members of the Travelling Community are accommodated in a manner that is suitable to their specific needs. The Council will access for these groups to an appropriate range of housing and related support services, delivered in an integrated, sustainable manner which promotes equality of opportunities, individual choice and independent living where possible.

Objective SH30

To prioritise the delivery of accommodation solutions for people who are homeless or who find themselves in need of emergency accommodation

Objective SH31

To provide for Traveller accommodation in accordance with the Wexford County Council Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019-2024 and any subsequently adopted programme.

Objective SH32

To have regard to the National Strategy for People with a Disability 2011-2016 (extended to 2020) and, in so far as possible and having regard to budgetary constraints, implement the strategic aims of this strategy any future update of the strategy.

Objective SH3

To facilitate access for people with disabilities and older people to an appropriate range of housing and related support services delivered in an integrated and sustainable manner that promotes equality of opportunity, individual choice and independent living.

Objective SH34

To support independent living for people with disabilities and older people and to facilitate the provision of specific purpose built accommodation and the provision of nursing homes, retirement villages, residential care facilities at appropriate locations in towns and villages in the county. These facilities must be well served by infrastructure and amenities including accessible footpaths, local shops and public transport in order to allow the resident to be socially included and to allow better care in the community, independence and access.

Objective SH35

The development of new nursing homes, retirement villages and residential care facilities outside of an existing settlement will only be considered where the site is located in close proximity to a settlement, would not comprise an isolated development, the design and scale of the facility is suitable for the location and there are existing or planned accessible pedestrian linkages to the settlements and its services. The Council will consider reasonable  extensions to existing authorised facilities outside of existing settlements subject to compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria.

Objective SH36

To facilitate the development of suitably located and well-designed student accommodation which will enable and encourage students to attend third level institutions in the county.  These facilitates should be located along public transport routes, where possible, and in close proximity to the third level facility. 

4.9 Housing in the Open Countryside

4.9.1 Single (One-Off) Rural Housing Policy Context

The Council will continue to support sustainable rural settlement in accordance with the National Planning Framework, the RSES and the Sustainable Rural Housing-Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DEHLG, 2005) and any future updates of those guidelines.

NPF and RSES

The NPF and the RSES 8state that in areas under urban influence, that is, within the commuter catchment of cities and large towns and centres of employment or elsewhere, that the provision of single housing the countryside be based on the core consideration of demonstrable economic or social need to live in a rural area and siting and design criteria for rural housing in statutory guidelines and plans. In rural areas elsewhere, the provision of single housing is to be based on the siting and design criteria for rural housing in statutory guidelines and plans.  

Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines 

The Guidelines define three rural area types:

Rural Areas under Strong Urban Influence 

The Guidelines outline that these areas exhibit characteristics such as proximity to the immediate environs of or close commuting catchment of large cities and towns. There will be evidence of rapidly rising population and of considerable pressure for housing development due to proximity to the urban areas or to major transport corridors with ready access to the urban area. There may also be evidence of pressures on infrastructures such the local road network. 

Stronger Rural Areas

According to the Guidelines in these areas population levels are generally stable within a well-developed town and village structure and in the wider rural areas around them. This stability is supported by a traditionally strong agricultural economic base and the level of individual housing development activity in these areas tends to be relatively low and confined to certain areas. 

Structurally Weak Areas

These areas will exhibit characteristics such as persistent and significant population decline as well as a weaker economic structure based on indices of income, employment and economic growth. 

Having regard to the NPF requirements, and following a review of rural areas in the county and their relationship with the key and large towns and transport corridors in the county,3 rural types have been identified and are shown on Map 1: 

  • Areas Under Strong Urban Influence
  • Stronger Rural Areas 
  • Structurally Weak 

In summary; 

  • Much of the county is designated as either ‘Areas under Strong Urban Influence’ or ‘Stronger Rural’.   Some of these areas have experienced more rapid growth and are reaching their carrying capacity in terms of both ability to accommodate further effluent treatment systems, visual amenity and ability to accommodate traffic movement on narrow roads.
  • Area within close proximity to the coast demonstrated significant pressure for one-off rural housing/second home development and are and sensitive to development and accordingly these areas are separately designated as the ‘Coastal Zone’ with stricter local need criteria than the other rural areas. 
  • While some areas of the county have been designated as ‘Structurally Weak’, applicants must still comply with the local needs criteria for this area in order to minimise unsustainable commuting patterns.  
  • There are landscape and heritage areas within the county which need to be afforded high level of protections. These include the Uplands, River Valleys,Coastal  and Distinctive Landscapes and designated ecological areas.  There are strict local need requirements in these areas. 
  • There are also restrictions relating to one-off housing along national and regional roads.  

As outlined in Section 3.3 single rural housing will be considered in the open countryside only where it is for those with a demonstrable economic or social functional need to live there. Notwithstanding the demonstration of this need, the planning application will be determined based on the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, in accordance with  all relevant development plan objectives and development management standards including traffic safety, public health, the protection of natural heritage, landscape and siting and design. The demonstration of a local rural housing need will not outweigh the need to comply with all other relevant planning and environmental criteria and standards. 

In order to be considered for a single dwelling in the open countryside, an applicant must meet one of the following categories:

A. A person who has a demonstrable social functional need to reside in a particular rural area

Or

B. A person who has a demonstrable economic functional need to reside in a particular rural area

The applicant must comply with the criteria for that category and the applicable rural area criteria as set out in Table 4.6 and the accompanying definition and notes. 

Table 4.6 Criteria for Off One Rural Housing

Rural Area
Type Area

Category A

Category B

  Housing for persons who have a demonstrable social functional rural housing need to live in a particular rural area and who are building a permanent home for their own use Housing for persons who have a demonstrable economic functional rural housing need to live in a particular rural area and who are building a permanent home for their own use

Strong Urban Influence

 

A person who has lived fulltime for a minimum of 10 years in that local rural area and the site is within 15km radius of where the applicant has lived or is living and who has never owned a rural house.

(See Point 4 in Definitions and Notes regarding owning a rural house). The person can work from home or commute to work daily.

B (i) Persons who by the nature of their work have a functional need to reside permanently in the rural area close to their place of work.  Functional economic need will include persons involved in full-time farming, horticulture, forestry or marine related activities as well as others who can demonstrate a genuine need because of their occupation to live in the rural area. Similar part-time occupations can also be considered where it can be demonstrated that it is the predominant occupation.

 

Or

 

B (ii) Bode fide applicants who are not considered eligible under either A or B(i) may qualify to build a permanent home in this rural area subject to satisfying the Planning Authority of their commitment to operate a full-time rural business from their proposed home in a rural area,  Applicants must as part of their planning application submit evidence to satisfy the Planning Authority that:

 

(a) Their business will contribute to  enhance the rural community and bring employment to the area in which they seek to live,

 

AND

The nature of their employment or business is compatible with those specified in the local needs criteria for rural areas so as to discourage applicants whose business is not location-dependent (e.g telesales or telemarketing), that is, they are serving a need in their local rural area

 

Stronger Rural Area

 

A person who has lived full time for minimum period of 10 years in that local rural area and the site is within 20km radius of where the applicant has lived or is living and who has never owned a rural house.

(See Point 4 in Definitions and Notes regarding owning a rural house). The person can work from home or commute to work daily.

Structurally Weak Area

A person who has lived full time for a minimum of 10 years in that local rural area and the site is within 25km radius of where the applicant has lived or is living and who has never owned a rural house.

(See Point 4 in Definitions and Notes regarding owning a rural house). The person can work from home or commute to work daily.

Coastal Zone

A person who has lived fulltime within the Coastal Zone for a minimum period of 10 years and the subject site is within 3km radius of where the applicant has lived or is living and who has never owned a rural house.

(See Point 4 in Definitions and Notes regarding owning a rural house).

 

 

 

 

Such persons shall be defined as persons who by the nature of their work have an over-riding economic functional need to reside permanently in the Coastal Zone or Landscape and Heritage Area and do not have access to appropriate land outside that area. Such circumstances will normally apply to land or business owners involved in full-time farming, horticulture, forestry, marine or tourism (not including B&Bs) related activities

 

Or

 

Bode fide applicants who are not considered eligible under the preceding category but may be considered as qualifying to build a permanent home in the rural area, subject to being able to satisfy the Planning Authority that the nature of their employment requires them to be located in the Coastal Zone or Landscape and Heritage Areas based on the services they would provide to that specific designated area and that they would enhance the specific designated area.

 

Landscape and Heritage Areas

  1. Designated ecological areas including  SACs, SPA and NHAs,
  2. Upland, River Valley or Coastal landscape units9 or a Distinctive Landscapes

 

A person who has lived fulltime within that particular landscape or heritage area for a minimum period of 10 years and the subject site is within 3km radius of where the applicant has lived or is living and who has never owned a rural house.

In the Slaney River Valley Landscape Unit, the subject site must be within 5km radius of where the applicant has lived or is living and who has never owned a rural house(See Point 4 in Definitions and Notes regarding owning a rural house).

 

 

Single rural housing will only be facilitated in these areas where the particular landscape unit, i.e. Upland, River Valley or Coastal landscape or the Distinctive landscape has the capacity to absorb the development. Where the Council considers that there is a risk of individual or cumulative adverse impacts, the Council will only consider proposals for single rural housing where the applicant has demonstrated an overriding need (either social or economic) to reside in the particular location in accordance with this table and Point 5 in Definitions and Notes.

Table 4-6 Definition and Notes:

  1. In the event of two or more rural policy areas overlapping, the more restrictive policy will apply. 
  2. A person with a social functional housing rural housing need is defined as a person who is an intrinsic member of a local rural community having lived for the specified period of time in their ‘local rural area’ and who has never owned a rural house. It includes persons who were reared in the local rural area but that local rural area is now within a settlement boundary/zoned land. It also includes a person who has links by virtue of being a long term rural landowner or the son or daughter or successor of such a person. A long term rural landowner is defined as a landholding owned by that person before the 30th April 2007. 
  3. The ‘local rural area’ is defined as an area within the ‘specified distance’ in the Table 4-6 above of where the applicant has lived or was living. Where the ‘specified distance’ for the Urban Influence, Stronger Rural or Structurally Weak rural area extends into the Coastal Zone or a Landscape and Heritage Area the lands within the Coastal Zone or Landscape and Heritage Area is excluded from being considered. However, where the specified distance for a person from the Coastal Zone or Landscape and Heritage Area extends into one of the other rural area types, this land will be considered.  The ‘local rural area’ includes the open countryside, Large Villages, Small Villages and Rural Nodes but excludes the Key Towns, the Large Town and Service settlements. In the context of the Coastal Zone the local rural area is defined as open countryside within the coastal zone.  
  4. Under both Category A and B, the persons must not have previously owned a rural house. However the Planning Authority, may in exceptional circumstances, give consideration to such persons. These circumstances include: 
    (a)    The person is no longer in possession of that home having been disposed of following a legal separation/divorce/repossession/ the transfer of a home attached to a farm to a family member and that person can demonstrate that they have a social or economic functional need to live in the local rural area. 
    (b)    The person requires a new purpose built specially adapted house due to a verified medical condition. The person must demonstrate that their existing home cannot be structurally adapted to meet their particular needs.
    (c)    An immediate family member who needs to reside beside an older person or person who otherwise needs care(s) to provide security, support or care, or the older person or person who requires care (s) needs to reside beside an immediate family member. In either case, the person (either the older parent or the immediate family member) whom it is proposed to reside beside must have lived fulltime in that ‘local rural area’ for a minimum period of 10 years and the subject site must be directly adjacent to their home.  Similar consideration will be given to an immediate family member of an older person who has no children. An immediate family member is defined as a mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister or guardian. In the case of an older person who has no children, an immediate family member is defined as a sister, brother, niece or nephew. 
    (d)    An older person(s), who for verified reasons, wishes to downsize their home but remain within their local rural area and local community. The new property must be single storey only, have a maximum floor area of 125m2, 2 bedrooms (one en suite), a kitchen, living room and bathroom and shall be fully accessible. It will be a condition of the planning permission that the exemption provided by Class 1 of Schedule 2, Part 1, Exempted Development-General of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 (as amended) which relate to the erection of an extension to a dwelling house, will be removed. 
  5. In determining whether an applicant has an overriding need to live at the particular location the Council will consider whether the applicant has a demonstrable economic need in accordance with the criteria set out in Table 4-1 for the Coastal Zone and the Landscape and Heritage Areas e.g. full time farming. In determining whether the applicant has an overriding social need to reside at that particular location, the Council will consider long-term landownership and exceptional health circumstances as outlined in Point 6. In both cases (either overriding social or economic need), the applicant must demonstrate that the need for a dwelling cannot be accommodated elsewhere and the development must comply with Points 7 and 8 relating to access to national and regional roads.
  6. The Planning Authority may give special consideration to cases of exceptional health circumstances supported by relevant documentation by a medical practitioner proving that a person needs to live in a particular environment or requires an immediate family member to live in close proximity to that person. 
  7. In accordance with Objective TS59 in Chapter 8  Transportation and regardless of compliance with Category A or B, no individual rural housing proposing either (a) a new direct access to the national road network or (b) the generation of increased traffic from an existing access onto the national road network in a zone where the speed limit is greater than 60kph will be permitted-see Section 8.6.1 National Roads (Chapter 8 Transportation Chapter). 
  8.  Planning applications for individual rural housing with access to a regional road within any of the rural area types or landscape and heritage area will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the criteria set out in Objective TS65 in Chapter 8 Transportation Strategy. 
  9. All permissions for individual rural housing will include an occupancy condition and a permanent residence condition (see Objectives SH39 SH40

4.9.2 Unfinished single houses in the open countryside

An instance may arise where planning permission is granted for a single house in the open countryside and work commenced on the development. However, the original applicant may no longer be in a position to complete the house. The planning authority will consider a planning application for retention and completion of the house by a different applicant only where the new applicant complies with the rural housing policy pertaining to that particular rural area.   

4.9.3 Ribbon Development

Ribbon development (also known as linear development) is defined in the Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines as development in rural areas “of almost continuous road frontage type development, for example, 5 or more houses existing on any one side of a given 250m of road frontage”. The Guidelines recommend against the creation of ribbon development for a variety of reasons including road safety, future demands for the provision of public infrastructure as well as visual impacts due to the piecemeal nature of this type of development. 

Ribbon development on the approach road to towns and villages creates problems as these settlements grow, in particular, it can impinge on the orderly and efficient development of newly developing areas on the edges of settlements, it can obstruct the delivery of future infrastructure and can give rise to demand for the inefficient servicing of this development at high cost give the low density nature of the development. Ribbon development in the open countryside gives rise to suburban type development and contributes to the erosion of the rural character of an area. 

Accordingly, the Council will adopt a presumption against ribbon development and will not allow more than 5 houses on any one side of a given 250m of road frontage regardless of the number of infill sites.

The Council will consider the following exception to this policy. Where there are 4 or 5 existing houses in a row and there is an infill site between 2 of the houses, the Council will consider the development of an infill site for a dwelling house where it is to accommodate a specific housing need such as that of son or daughter. The infill site must be adjacent to the family home or in very close proximity (250 m of the family home).  Only one infill site in that row will be permitted to be developed in order to limit the impact of ribbon development/suburban density in rural areas (regardless of the number of infill sites). 

New Individual Dwellings in the Open Countryside Objectives

It is the objective of the Council: 

Objective SH37

To consider individual rural housing in the open countryside in accordance with the categories and associated criteria set out in Table 4.1 and subject to compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria and the relevant development management standards.

Objective SH38

To strictly control individual rural housing in the open countryside in areas that are reaching their carrying capacity in terms of effluent treatment capacity, visual amenity and/or roads carrying capacity in accordance with the requirements set out in Table 4.6 and the associated definitions and notes and subject to compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria and the relevant development management standards.

Objective SH39

All planning permissions granted for individual rural dwellings in the open countryside will be subject to a condition which will require the applicant to enter an occupancy agreement for a period of 10 years from the date of first occupation of the dwelling house. 

Objective SH40

All planning permissions granted for individual rural dwellings in the open countryside will be subject to a condition that the dwelling house be used as a permanent residence only

Objective SH41

To adopt a presumption against ribbon development in the open countryside and on the approach roads to towns and villages in the interests of the proper planning and sustainable development of the area save for the exceptions outlined in Section 4.8.3

Objective SH42

To consider an application for retention and completion of a single house in the countryside by a different applicant to the original applicant only where the new applicant complies with the rural housing policy pertaining to that particular rural area.

Objective SH43

To require the design of new single houses to be of high quality and in keeping with the rural character of the site and the area, protect the visual amenities of the area and that of the landscape character unit in which it is located.

4.9.4 Refurbishment and Replacement of Rural Dwellings/Non-Residential Rural Structures

The reuse of the county’s existing housing stock is a sustainable use of existing resources and its reuse will be encouraged by the Planning Authority. However the reuse is only sustainable if the amount of work to be done to the property is significantly less than a new dwelling (in term or embedded energy and waste) or if it preserves our vernacular heritage.

Vernacular Houses

The county has a significant number of attractive vernacular houses in its rural areas. The Planning Authority will continue to protect this vernacular building stock and promote its sensitive restoration , including those which are derelict, as an alternative to the construction of new single rural houses elsewhere in the countryside. Table 4.7 sets out the guiding principles and criteria relating to vernacular houses. 

Non-Vernacular

The Planning Authority will apply a more relaxed approach to the refurbishment of non-vernacular housing stock in rural areas. 

Non-Residential Rural Structures

The Planning Authority will also consider the refurbishment and conversion of a non-residential structure to residential use, e.g. a disused church, an old school building subject to complying with the criteria set out in Table 4.6. 

The following definitions apply:
‘Substantially intact’ for the purposes of this section means the four walls and roof are intact. 

‘Derelict’ for the purposes of this section means a structure which is a ruinous condition or not substantially intact. This includes where the roof if partially missing/damaged.  

Table 4.7 Refurbishment and Replacement of  Dwelling houses

Category of Development

Guiding Principles

Criteria

Restoration of a habitable or, ‘substantially intact’ or derelict vernacular dwelling

 

.

The Planning Authority will protect the vernacular dwelling building stock in the county’s rural areas and will encourage the sensitive restoration of a ‘habitable’ or ‘substantially intact’ or derelict vernacular dwelling as an alternative to the construction of a single rural house elsewhere in the countryside.

 

 

  1. The vernacular dwelling must be capable of being suitably restored to habitable accommodation in keeping with its original character and without the necessity to demolish or significantly alter it.
  2. The remaining character and original historic fabric of the structure must be retained using appropriate traditional construction methods and materials.
  3. The applicant will not be required to comply with the local need criteria relevant to the rural area in which the structure is located and occupancy and permanent residency conditions shall not apply.
  4. Any proposed extension of the structure must be proportionate in scale and be visually subservient while allowing sufficient accommodation to function as a modern dwelling.
  5. Normal criteria will apply to the treatment of waste water, safe access and water supply.  
  6. Minimum site sizes do not apply apart from required distances for wells and waste water treatment systems. 

Replacement of ‘habitable’, ‘substantially intact’ or derelict vernacular  dwellings

The Planning Authority will protect the vernacular dwelling building stock in the county’s rural areas and as such will not consider the replacement of habitable vernacular dwelling.

 

However, consideration will be given to the replacement of substantially intact and derelict vernacular dwellings. Such cases will be assessed as a greenfield site and the rural housing policy for new single houses in that rural area will be applied as will all other normal planning and environmental criteria

  1. The applicant shall comply with the local need criteria relating to the rural area that the dwelling is located in and the applicant will be required to accept the occupancy condition and permanent residence condition.
  2. The design of the replacement dwelling must be of a high standard and its scale and character appropriate to the site and its rural setting.
  3. The dwelling shall generally be on the same footprint as the existing dwelling or such other footprint as would have lesser associated impacts. The development must comply with all normal planning and environmental criteria.
  4. Normal environmental criteria will apply to treatment of waste water, safe access and water supply
  5. Minimum site sizes will apply.
Table 4.8 Refurbishment and conversion of non-residential structures to residential use.

Category

 

Guiding Principle

Criteria

Refurbishment and conversion of non-residential traditional rural buildings to residential use e.g. a disused church, an old school building, and stone built barns.

 

The Planning Authority will assess this as the sustainable reuse of existing building stock and as an alternative to the construction of a single house elsewhere in the countryside.

 

 

  1. The original structure must be ‘substantially intact’.
  2. The building must be of local, visual, architectural or historical interest.
  3. The building must be capable of undergoing refurbishment and conversion and its original appearance must be retained. In this regard, the planning application must be accompanied by a structural survey carried out by a suitably qualified engineer.
  4. The works must be carried out in a sensitive manner and retain architecturally important features and make use of traditional and complementary materials.
  5. The applicant will not be required to comply with the local need criteria relating to the rural area in which the structure is located and the occupancy and permanent residence conditions shall not apply.
  6. Any proposed extension of the structure must be appropriate in scale and remain subservient to the structure.

Fire Damaged Houses

Rebuilding of rural dwellings that have been accidently destroyed by fire will be supported subject to the dwelling being of a similar size and foot print to the dwelling that has been destroyed.  Any significant variation to the original scale of the dwelling may result in additional assessments being required relating to site size and environmental criteria. 

Replacement and Refurbishment in the Open Countryside

It is the objective of the Council:

Objective SH44

To consider the restoration of existing vernacular dwellings in accordance with Table 4.7, normal planning and environmental criteria and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

Objective SH45

To consider the replacement or refurbishment of existing non-vernacular dwellings subject to compliance with the relevant criteria outlined in Table No. 4-5, compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

Objective SH46

To consider the refurbishment and conversion of a non-residential structure to residential use subject to compliance with the relevant criteria set out in Table 4-6, compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

4.9.5 Self-contained residential units for a family member

The purpose of this unit is to provide semi-independent accommodation for an immediate family member who is dependent on the occupant(s) of the main dwelling or needs to live in close proximity to the occupant(s) of the main dwelling for care and/or security reasons. An immediate family member is defined as a mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister or guardian. In the case of an older person who has no children, an immediate family member is defined as a sister, brother, niece or nephew. 

These units, which must be attached to the main dwelling house with provision made for an internal link, are not considered to be an independent dwelling unit and as such private open space and car parking standards are not independently assessed. The unit must be integrated back into the main dwelling when use by the immediate family member is no longer required. The planning authority will consider applications on a case-by-case basis and subject to compliance with the development management standards set out in Volume 2 and normal planning and environmental criteria. 

Objective SH47

To consider the development of a self-contained residential unit attached to the main dwelling house only where it is satisfactorily demonstrated that the proposed occupant is an immediate family member who is dependent on the existing occupant(s) of the main dwelling house or needs to live in close proximity to the existing occupant(s) of the main dwelling for health or support reasons The development must comply with the relevant development management standards set out in Volume 2 and comply with normal planning and environmental criteria.

4.9.6 Modular Units

The use of modular units as permanent residences will be given consideration on a case-by-case basis. It must be demonstrated that the units will be provide a high quality, sustainable construction with a lifetime similar to concrete construction (minimum 60 years). The external finishes of the units must be in keeping with the local vernacular finishes and in this regard the units must therefore have an external plaster finish and normal roof slates.  The units must comply with all other standards pertaining to residential developments.

Objective SH48

To consider the use of modular units for use a permanent residence where it complies with the requirements of Section 4.9.6 and normal planning and environmental criteria.

4.9.7 Individual Mobile Homes for use as a Permanent Residence

This type of structure is not considered suitable for use as a permanent residence. The Planning Authority may consider limited temporary use of a mobile home as living accommodation while a permitted dwelling house for the same applicant is being constructed on the same site. The mobile home must be served by suitable wastewater and water supply facilities.  

Objective SH49

To not permit the use of individual mobile homes as permanent residences. The Council may, in the following exceptional circumstances, allow the use of mobile home to: 
(a)    Provide temporary emergency accommodation where no other suitable options are available and as confirmed by the Council, or
(b)     A temporary planning permission of no more than 2 years for the placement and occupation of a mobile home on a site where a permitted dwelling house is under construction for the occupation by the same applicant.

4.9.8 Single Holiday Homes

The land use planning approach is to concentrate future holiday homes, including single holiday homes, in existing settlements in the county. Single holiday homes will only be considered in the open countryside in line with Table 4-7 and 4-8. 

However, the development of holiday homes in rent pressure zones and areas of identified housing need for the purposes of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Supply Act 2015 will be strictly controlled to ensure existing houses and zoned land is retained, where needed, for the provision of permanent residential purposes.  Holiday home development is discussed in further detail in Chapter 7 Tourism and Chapter 12 Coastal Zone Management.

Objective SH50

To restrict single holiday home development to appropriate sites in Level 1- Level  5 settlements in accordance with the Core Strategy in Chapter 3 and pursuant to provisions of Chapter 4 Sustainable Housing, Chapter 7 Tourism and Chapter 12 Coastal Zone in the interests of the sustainable development and proper planning of the area.
  • 1-  National Planning Framework, page 91
  • 2-  An access statement is a development management mechanism, used to explain and justify the approach to access within the scheme that is being applied for and how the design of the scheme responds to the needs of all potential users.
  • 3-  This approach was taken in the absence of a detailed guidance and methodology to support local authorities in the preparation of HNDAs.
  • 4-  Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, Housing Supply: A Model Housing Strategy and Step-by-Step Guide from 2000.
  • 5-  It should be noted that mortgage qualification and private rental have been considered in isolation and should therefore not be aggregated. 
  • 6-  Totals may not sum due to rounding
  • 7- Totals may not sum due to rounding
  • 8-  NPO 19 and RPO 27
  • 9-  In the interests of clarity, the Coastal Zone and the Coastal Landscape Character Unit are two separate areas for the purposes of the application of the rural housing policy. The Coastal Zone area, which is defined on Map 3, is subject to the rural area type Coastal Zone policy in Table 4-6 and the Coastal Landscape Character Unit, which is shown on Map 7.1 in Volume 7, is subject to the rural area type Landscape and Heritage areas set out in Table 4-6.

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