Vacant shops could be turned into homes to tackle the housing shortage in Wicklow – Doyle


Vacant shops could soon be turned into homes to help tackle the housing shortage in Wicklow,  a Fine Gael Deputy has said.

Proposals have been brought forward to Government today for vacant commercial premises to be made into housing without the need for planning permission.

Minister of State Andrew Doyle TD  said: “These draft regulations, if approved by the Oireachtas, will allow the conversion of certain vacant commercial premises here in Wicklow such as empty retail units and “over the shop” type spaces to homes without the need for planning permission.

“This will have the dual benefit of creating urgently needed housing supply in high demand areas, while at the same time breathing new life into our towns and urban areas- many of which have been adversely affected by the economic downturn.

“Fine Gael in Government is fully committed to bringing as many vacant properties as possible back into use and maximising the use of existing resources.”

Minister Doyle continued: “These new regulations- brought forward by my Fine Gael colleagues, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Minister of State Damien English, will make it easier for property owners to re-imagine the use of vacant and under-used buildings without having to go through the planning process.

“These are the first of a series of measures being developed by my Department to streamline the various regulatory requirements relating to the conversion of vacant spaces for residential use”.

“We want to once again show how the planning system can be responsive to current needs and demands, by removing the need for planning consent where appropriate and thereby provide greater efficiencies in the system.

“All elements of the three sets of proposals brought forward today have the potential to have a very real and positive impact on the people of Wicklow.

“The Joint Oireachtas Committee will discuss these proposals in early 2018 so that the new provisions can be brought into operation as soon as possible.”

New funding for Wicklow anglers – Doyle


New funding for Wicklow anglers – Doyle

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle, said the announcement of over €45k in funding for Wicklow Angling initiatives is good news for anglers in the county.

This funding will focus on improving Wicklow’s inland and sea angling resources. This scheme is part of the Inland Fisheries Ireland National Strategy for Angling Development.

The 2017 funding call was first announced last August  to local groups, local authorities and individuals. In total 115 angling development projects were awarded funding of €2.2 million.

Minister Doyle said: “I would like to congratulate the Wicklow applicants who were awarded this funding.

“Angling is important to the economy here in Wicklow; delivering the economic, health and recreational benefits.

Several Wicklow projects were included in the scheme this year. The River Vartry Protection Society was awarded €13,025 to prune trees and manage invasive species. Fishing Futures will receive €1,620 for purchasing angling equipment for community groups and Wicklow County Council will get over €30k to upgrade angling ladders in Bray, Wicklow and Arklow Harbours.

“These grants will improve infrastructure for sea anglers in Bray, Wicklow and Arklow, allowing access to angling for youth groups and the preservation of inland waterways.

“This funding will ensure that Wicklow’s fish stocks and angling infrastructure are protected delivering long term recreational and economic benefit to their communities,” said the Wicklow Minister.