Vacant pubs to be converted to homes under expanded housing scheme

The changes will allow vacant commercial units to be used for homes without needing planning permission to change the unit's category.
Vacant pubs to be converted to homes under expanded housing scheme

Muireann Duffy

Pubs are to be added to the list of vacant properties which can be turned into homes without the need to seek planning permission to change the building from a commercial to a residential unit.

It is hoped the expanded exemptions will increase housing supply and combat levels of homelessness.

According to the Irish Examiner, Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien is expected to bring in the plans from January, lasting until 2025.

Although the Minister said ending vacancies around the country would not be done with one move, he described the exemptions as an important step.

"Getting to grips with vacancies across our cities, towns and villages will take a number of approaches," Mr O'Brien said.

He added that part of the Government's Housing for All plan, published in September aiming to address the housing crisis, concerns "tackling vacant and making efficient use of stock".

"Changing these regulations is one small step we can take," the Minister said.

The change has been welcomed by Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin, however he stressed that other planning rules will need to be followed.

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