Planning Permission Not Required To Convert Vacant Pubs Into Homes Under New Regulations

By Dave Simpson
Planning Permission Not Required To Convert Vacant Pubs Into Homes Under New Regulations

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien has signed planning regulations that will exempt the conversion of former pubs into residential units from needing planning permission.


According to a statement published on, the new exemption is contained in an extension of 2018 planning regulations that permit a change of use of certain vacant commercial premises including vacant areas above ground-floor premises into residential use such as "above shop" living, and the exemptions aim to increase the re-use of vacant commercial buildings to increase housing supply and renew urban areas.

The statement published on said that the regulations signed by Minister O'Brien extend the exemption to the end of 2025.

Statement By Minister O'Brien

The statement published on included a statement from Minister O'Brien, in which he said, "Turning vacant properties into occupied homes is a major element of [the government's national plan on housing to 2030] Housing for All . Unfortunately towns and villages across the country 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. The regulations will also continue to make it easier to get other forms of vacant commercial premises, including vacant spaces over ground floor premises, back into use for residential purposes such as 'over the shop' living."

Statement By Minister of State for Planning and Local Government

The statement published on also included a statement from Minister of State for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke, who also worked on these planning regulations, in which he said, "Since 2018, almost 1,400 homes have been provided from exempting the conversion of certain vacant commercial premises. 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 dedicated vacant homes officers in all local authorities, will help get more vacant properties back into use. This measure supports the government’s other measures to tackle vacancy, including increased resources for local authorities' vacant homes offices and the launch of a Town Centre First policy, which will revitalise town centres and their buildings."

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