Ibec calls for extension to Strategic Housing Development scheme

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has called for the extension of the Strategic Housing Development scheme.   

Ibec Senior Public Sector and Regulatory Executive, Aidan Sweeney said: “Housing is a critical part of a country’s physical infrastructure. There is a clear link between its availability, its affordability and our economic competitiveness. Government must take the necessary steps to immediately extend the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process and address other barriers to large-scale housing delivery.    

We must continue to treat housing as strategic infrastructure. It is too important an issue for the economy and society. Government must give an early signal of its intention to extend the SHD scheme. Work is already commencing on large-scale housing project applications already that may not be ready to lodged with An Bord Pleanála until next year. A delayed decision on the future of the SHD scheme leads to uncertainty and could inadvertently cause an avoidable slow-down in new housing supply.   

“The SHD process is still relatively new, which has had some effect on its take-up. As awareness and familiarity grew, we can see strong utilisation of this new mechanism. It does require some refinement to maintain the effectiveness desired. There are other important recommendations to  improve the operation and effectiveness of the SHD arrangements.”  

Simple steps outlined in Ibec’s submission to the SHD Review Group contain important recommendations to improve the operation and effectiveness of the SHD arrangements. These include:   

·         Ensure the pre-application phase better supports the SHD objective of the SHD process by being a truly consultative process. 

·         Provide for a time-limited request for further information mechanism to replace the current ‘one shot’ application process.   

·         Allow local authorities, not the Board, to approve amendments to SHD planning permissions granted. 

·         Streamline the process for discharging planning conditions to expedite the commencement process.  

·         Publish proposals to reform the judicial review process.