The following material alterations are proposed to Chapter 6 –  Housing. The proposed alterations should be read in conjunction with the original draft chapter which can be viewed here.

AMENDMENT V1 – 14

Section 6.2       Wicklow County Housing Strategy

The purpose of the Housing Need Demand Assessment tool is to:

  • Assist local authorities to develop long-term strategic views of housing need across all tenures;
  • Provide robust evidence base to support decisions about new housing supply, wider investment and housing related services that inform an overall national housing profile;
  • Inform policies about the proportion of social and affordable housing required, including the need for different types and sizes of provision;
  • Provide evidence to inform policies related to the provision of specialist housing and housing related services.[14]

In the absence of Ministerial guidance on the preparation of HNDAs the Planning Authority has prepared an interim Housing Strategy. This will be reviewed following the publication of HNDA guidelines. HNDA is required to be integrated into the development plan review process where planning authorities give notice of review of a development plan in accordance with section 11(1) of the 2000 Act, after the date of Circular 14/2021 (14 April 2021). As the notice of the review of the Wicklow County Development Plan occurred before the date of this circular, HNDA is not being carried out at this time. It will however be carried out in due course, and should it identify that amendment of the County Development Plan is necessary to reflect its outcomes, the plan will be varied accordingly. Therefore until this exercise is completed, this Housing Strategy is to be considered an ‘interim’ one.

While the Housing Strategy has found that there is rationale for seeking 10% of eligible residential development to be reserved for social housing (or 20% social and affordable in certain circumstances) during the strategy period of 20212-20278, this only addresses social housing needs that will arise during the 20212-20278 period and does not take into account the considerable demand for such housing that has built up over the currency of the previous strategy. It is also clear that the combination of the Council’s own construction and Part V will only cater for a proportion of the population experiencing affordability problems in the County. The Council must continue to utilise all policy avenues open to it and any new schemes that become available to ensure the greatest delivery of social housing possible and to ensure a regionally equitable balance of housing delivery, including providing. Provide for housing for older people in town centres more suited for those with reduced mobility.

 

AMENDMENT V1 – 15

6.3.5    Densities

The density standards as per the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (2009) are set out in Table 6.1.

Table 6.1 Density Standards

Location

Density Standards

Large Towns[15]

(Bray, Greystones-Delgany, Arklow, Wicklow –Rathnew and Blessington)

 

  • Public Transport Corridors: Minimum density of 50 units per hectare within 500m walking distance of bus stop or 1km of light rail stop or rail station.
  • Outer Suburban / Greenfield Sites: Minimum density of 35 - 50 dwellings per hectare.
  • Development at net densities less than 30 dwellings per hectare should generally be discouraged particularly on sites in excess of 0.5 hectares.

Small Towns and Villages[16]

(Kilcoole, Newtownmountkennedy, Baltinglass, Enniskerry, Rathdrum, Aughrim, Ashford, Carnew, Kilmacanogue, Roundwood, Tinahely, Newcastle, Dunlavin, Avoca, Shillelagh, Donard)

  • Centrally located sites: 30 – 40 + units per hectare for mainly residential schemes may be appropriate or for more mixed use schemes.
  • Edge of Centre Sites: 20-35 dwellings per hectare.
  • Edge of small town / village: Densities of less than 15 – 20 dwellings per hectare (as an alternative to one-off housing) as long as such development does not represent more than 20% of the total new planned housing stock of the small town or village.

Villages under 400 Population

Any individual scheme for new housing should not be larger than 10 units.

In the application of density standards and the assessment of applications, cognisance shall also be taken on Circular letter NRUP 02/2021 that clarifies that the application of the Sustainable Residential Development Guidelines Planning Authorities should apply a graduated and responsive, tailored approach to the assessment of residential densities in Peripheral and/or Less Accessible Urban Locations, as defined in the Apartment Guidelines and as they apply to towns of all sizes, to ensure that such places are developed in a sustainable and proportionate manner.

 

AMENDMENT V1 – 16

Section 6.4       Housing Objectives

General

CPO 6.1            New housing development shall be required to locate on suitably zoned or designated land in settlements and will only be considered in the open countryside when it is for the provision of a rural dwelling for those with a demonstrable housing social or economic need to live in the open countryside.

CPO 6.2            To implement the following housing occupancy control for multi-house developments of 10 units or more in all settlements in Levels 1 – 6 of the settlement hierarchy:

  • 75% no restriction;
  • 25% applicant / purchaser of any new home must have lived for at least 3 years duration in County Wicklow, within 15km of the proposed development site, prior to purchasing a home. This does not include units delivered in accordance with Part V. 

 

AMENDMENT V1 – 17

Section 6.4       Housing Objectives

General

CPO 6.1            New housing development shall be required to locate on suitably zoned or designated land in settlements and will only be considered in the open countryside when it is for the provision of a rural dwelling for those with a demonstrable housing social or economic need to live in the open countryside.

CPO 6.X           The sale of all developments of residential units, whether houses, duplexes or apartments, to commercial institutional investment bodies shall be prohibited.

 

AMENDMENT V1 – 18

Section 6.4       Housing Objectives

Social and Affordable Housing

CPO 6.9            To implement the provisions of the Wicklow Housing Strategy and in particular, 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. In certain circumstances as set out in the Affordable Housing Act 2021, this requirement will be 20% devoted to social and affordable housing.

 

AMENDMENT V1 – 19

Section 6.4       Housing Objectives

Sequence / Phasing of Housing

CPO 6.20          Housing development shall be managed and phased to ensure that infrastructure is adequate or is being provided to match the needs of new residents.

                        Where specified by the Planning Authority, new significant residential or mixed use development proposals (of which residential development forms a component)[17] may shall be required to provide a social and community facility/facilities as part of the proposed development or the developer may be required to carry out be accompanied by a Social Infrastructure Audit, to determine if social and community facilities in the area are sufficient to provide for the needs of the future residents. Where deficiencies are identified, proposals will be required to either rectify the deficiency, or suitably restrict or phase the development in accordance with the capacity of existing or planned services.

New significant residential or mixed use development proposals shall be required to be accompanied by a ‘Accessibility Report’ that demonstrates that new residents / occupants / employees (including children and those with special mobility needs) will be able to safely access through means other than the private car:

(a) local services including shops, schools, health care and recreational facilities, and

(b) public transport services.                  

                        Where deficiencies are identified, proposals will be required to either rectify the deficiency, or suitably restrict or phase the development in accordance with the capacity/quality of existing or planned linkages.

 

AMENDMENT V1 – 20

6.4       Housing Objectives

Dwelling Mix / Sizes / Locations / Formats

CPO 6.34          Support the change of use of vacant commercial premises in town / villages centres to residential purposes outside of the retail core areas as identified in Chapter 10, subject to CPO10.9.

 

AMENDMENT V1 – 21

Section 6.4       Housing Objectives

Housing in the Open Countryside

CPO 6.41          Facilitate residential development in the open countryside for those with a housing need based on the core consideration of demonstrable functional social or economic need to live in the open countryside in accordance with the requirements set out in Table 6.3.

            Table 6.3          Rural Housing Policy

Housing Need / Necessary Dwelling

This is defined as those who can demonstrate a clear need for new housing, for example:

  • first time home owners;
  • someone that previously owned a home and is no longer in possession of that home as it had to be disposed of following legal separation / divorce / repossession by a lending institution, the transfer of a home attached to a farm to a family member or the past sale of a home following emigration;
  • someone that already owns / owned a home who requires a new purpose built specially adapted house due to a verified medical condition and who can show that their existing home cannot be adapted to meet their particular needs;

and other such circumstances that clearly demonstrate a bona fide need for a new dwelling in the open countryside notwithstanding previous / current ownership of a home as may be considered acceptable to the Planning Authority.

Economic Need

The Planning Authority recognises the rural housing need of persons whose livelihood is intrinsically linked to rural areas subject to it being demonstrated that a home in the open countryside is essential to the making of that livelihood and that livelihood could not be maintained while living in a nearby settlement.

In this regard, persons whose livelihood is intrinsically linked to rural areas may include:

  1. Those involved in agriculture

The Planning Authority will positively consider applications from those who are engaged in a significant agricultural enterprise and require a dwelling on the agricultural holding that they work. In such cases, it will be necessary for the applicant to satisfy the Planning Authority with supporting documents that due to the nature of the agricultural employment, a dwelling on the holding is essential for the ongoing successful operation and maintenance of the farm. In this regard, the Planning Authority will consider whether there is already a dwelling / dwellings on the farm holding when determining if a new dwelling can be justified.

  1. Those involved in non-agricultural rural enterprise / employment

The Planning Authority will support applications from those whose business / full time employment is intrinsically linked to the rural area that can demonstrate a need to live in the vicinity of their employment in order to carry out their full time occupation. The Planning Authority will strictly require any applicant to show that there is a particular aspect or characteristic of their employment that requires them to live in that rural area, as opposed to a local settlement.

Where an applicant’s case for a new dwelling on the basis of economic need is based on establishing a new or alternative agricultural / non-agricultural rural enterprise and they have no previous experience in agriculture / rural enterprise, the Planning Authority shall not consider the above requirements met until the applicant can show that the new agricultural / non-agricultural rural enterprise has been legally and continuously ongoing for at least 5 years prior to the making of the application for a dwelling, and is the applicant’s primary occupation and source of income. Applicants whose proposed business is not location-dependent will not be considered.

  1. Other such persons as may have definable economic need to reside in the open countryside, as may arise on a case by case basis.

 

Social Need

The Planning Authority recognises the need of persons intrinsically linked to rural areas that are not engaged in significant agricultural or rural based occupations to live in rural areas.

In this regard, persons intrinsically linked to a rural area may include:

  • Permanent native residents of that rural area (including Level 8 and 9 settlements) i.e. a person who was born and reared in the same rural area as the proposed development site and permanently resides there;
  • A former permanent native of the area (including Level 8 and 9 settlements) who has not resided in that rural area for many years (for example having moved into a town or due to emigration), but was born and reared in the same rural area as the proposed development site, has strong social ties to that area, and now wishes to return to their local area;
  • A close relative who has inherited, either as a gift or on death, an agricultural holding or site for his/her own purposes and can demonstrate a social need to live in that particular rural area,
  • The son or daughter of a landowner who has inherited a site for the purpose of building a one off rural house and where the land has been in family ownership for at least 10 years prior to the application for planning permission and can demonstrate a social need to live in that particular rural area,
  • Persons who were permanent native residents of a rural area but due to the expansion of an adjacent town / village, the family home place is now located within the development boundary of the town / village;
  • Local applicants who are intrinsically linked to their local area and, while not exclusively involved in agricultural or rural employment, have access to an affordable local site;
  • Local applicants who provide care services to family members and those working in healthcare provision locally; and
  • other such persons as may have a definable strong social need to live in that particular rural area, which can be demonstrated by way of evidence of strong social or familial connections, connection to the local community / local organisations etc as may arise on a case by case basis.

In the event of conflict of any other settlement strategy objective / Landscape Zones and categories, a person who qualifies under policy CPO 6.41 their needs shall be supreme, except where the proposed development would be a likely traffic hazard or public health hazard.

With regard to the preservation of views and prospects, due consideration shall be given to those listed within the area of the National Park; and with respect to all other areas, to generally regard the amenity matters, but not to the exclusion of social and economic matters. The protection and conservation of views and prospects should not give rise to the prohibition of development, but development should be designed and located to minimise impact.

 

[14] Section 6.6, National Planning Framework

[15] These are defined in the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (2009) as those with a population of 5,000 or more.

[16] These are defined in the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (2009) as those with a population ranging from 400 to 5,000 persons.

[17] Being defined as developments in excess of 50 units of housing in any settlements in Levels 1-4 in the hierarchy, 25 housing units in Levels 5-10, and all developments in excess of 500m distance to a public transport service, as well as other format / sizes / locations are may be deemed necessary by the Local Authority.

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