NEW figures published today show that since 2018 Donegal County Council has received 23 notifications of intention to build for a total of 41 homes from those planning to convert vacant commercial premises into homes.
In 2022, Donegal County Council received notifications of 11 exempted developments aimed at providing 24 homes.
In Donegal, three pubs have given notification to change use of the building to create five homes.
Nationally, 260 notifications indicated intent to provide 665 homes.
These figures relate to Regulations which provide those planning on converting certain commercial properties into homes with an exemption from requiring planning permission.
The regulations are aimed at increasing much-needed housing supply and renewing towns and communities.
Last year, Minister O’Brien amended the 2018 Regulations to include an exemption for the conversion of vacant pubs.
He extended the Regulations to the end of 2025, as committed to under the Government’s ‘Housing for All’ plan and ‘Town Centre First’ policy.
Commenting on the figures, Minister Darragh O’Brien said:“Today’s figures show that extra homes in Donegal are being provided due to these regulations that make it easier to convert certain vacant commercial premises, including vacant spaces over ground-floor premises, into housing. Crucially, these regulations also encourage town centre renewal, a Government priority. That is why I extended these exemptions until the end of 2025 last year.
The figures have been published as the second phase of the department’s national ad campaign to raise awareness of the Government’s vacant property supports begins. The campaign’s second phase highlights these planning permission exemptions and the Repair and Leasing Scheme.
Minister O’Brien added: “This Government is determined to eradicate the blight of vacancy and dereliction that afflicts many of our towns. We have many schemes and supports out there to help people convert a derelict building or premises into a home. We are running a national campaign to alert the public to these supports and I hope to see many more conversions of such properties in Donegal in the year ahead.”
Commenting on the campaign, the Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Kieran O’Donnell TD, said:“Right across the country the public are responding to the supports available for turning vacant property into homes. Over the next two weeks, we’re going to highlight both the planning permission exemptions for converting vacant commercial property into a home and the Repair and Leasing Scheme.
“The Repair and Leasing Scheme offers vacant property owners the opportunity to restore a property with the help of a local authority loan in return for guaranteed rent for a defined period of time by renting the property out for social housing.
“I urge anyone interested in buying, selling or leasing a vacant property that could be a home to visit gov.ie/vacancy or contact Donegal County Council’s Vacant Homes Officer.”
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