23 May 2022

No planning permission needed for conversion of vacant Leitrim pubs into homes under new regulations

Donegal pubs set to reopen on Monday week

No planning is now required to convert a public house into a home.

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, has signed Planning Regulations that will exempt the conversion of former pubs into residential units from requiring planning permission. The new exemption is contained in an extension of 2018 Planning Regulations that allow a change of use of certain vacant commercial premises - including vacant areas above ground-floor premises - to residential use such as ‘above shop’ living.

The exemptions aim to increase the re-use of vacant commercial buildings in Leitrim and elsewhere to increase much-needed housing supply and renew urban areas. Since 2018, 4 residential units have been provided in county Leitrim through 5 notifications of exempted developments. The regulations signed by Minister O’Brien extend the exemption to the end of 2025.  

For the conversion of former pubs into a home/homes in Leitrim:

- the pub’s license must have lapsed
- a limit of 9 residential units can be produced under an exempted development

Minister O’Brien said:  “Turning vacant properties into occupied homes is a major element of Housing for All. Unfortunately, towns and villages in Leitrim have seen pubs close their doors for the last time in recent years, not least over the last two years. This new planning regulation will ease the planning burden for those who want to convert small and medium-sized pubs that are no longer viable and have ceased to operate, into residential housing for Leitrim. The regulations will also continue to make it easier to get other forms of vacant commercial premises in Leitrim, including vacant spaces over ground floor premises, back into use for residential purposes such as ‘over the shop’ living.”    

The Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, who also worked on these planning regulations, added: “Since 2018, 4 homes have been provided from exempting the conversion of certain vacant commercial premises in Leitrim. I believe there is great potential for even more vacant properties to be converted into residential units through these regulations. Increased awareness of these exemptions, including through the work of Leitrim County Council, will help get more vacant properties back into use.” 

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