After cross-party political pressure and media attention, officials at the Department of Housing are now examining the issue of a planning exemption for bicycle storage at front of houses — only recently they said the issue was not being looked at.
The latest update comes after Labour Party leader and Dublin TD, Ivana Bacik, asked a written parliamentary question on if the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage plans to amend planning legislation to facilitate the installation of covered bicycle storage in the front gardens of private dwellings.
Kieran O’Donnell, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, said: “The idea of providing a planning exemption for small outdoor bike storage facilities is currently being explored by my Department.”
It might be a long road yet until legal changes are made, but it’s an improvement from when the same Department told the Dublin Inquirer in May that “whilst planning legislation is kept under constant review, there are currently no proposals to amend the legislation as suggested”.
There have been cases reported in Dublin and one in Westport where planners rejected requests to retain such structures after planning complaints were made by members of the public. With the Westport example, the shed was replaced with a taller road-worthy trailer which cannot be subjected to planning enforcement.
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Some of the cases included larger sheds, but the latest case involved a unit roughly the same size as what councils are installing on streets to accommodate residents with no rear access for secure bicycle parking. In that case, An Bord Pleanála went against its inspector and said the bicycle bunker is “a visually discordant feature”.
In a written reply to Bacik, Minister of State O’Donnell said: “The idea of providing a planning exemption for small outdoor bike storage facilities is currently being explored by my Department. If it is considered appropriate, draft legislation will be brought forward. In this regard, it should be noted that under section 262(4) of the Act, legislative proposals in relation to exempted development require the approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas before they can be signed into law.”
The written reply outlined how under the Planning and Development Act 2000, all development unless specifically exempted requires planning permission.
The Department said that exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission in respect of specific forms of development are provided for when they are considered to be consistent with proper planning and sustainable development.