Planning issues

It is commonly known you must have planning permission before you start to build a house or, you may even need permission before you even start to clear your site, particularly if you are making or widening access to a public road, demolishing a structure that was last used as a residence or demolishing a building in a terrace or one attached to another in separate ownership.

 

Changes in use of a building will also need planning permission, irrespective of the fact that no alterations may be required to the building.

Proceeding to build without planning permission may incur action being taken by the local authority, involving enforcement proceedings  which may result in expensive demolitions, or even imprisonment, and  will cause a serious problem for you selling your property at a later date.

Consultation

Before you start planning, you should familiarise yourself with the Development Plan for your area. This will state your local authority’s policies for land use and may advise particular local restrictions in relation to sewage systems, etc. While you don’t have to consult the planning authority before applying for permission, it may save you a lot of time if you check out anything you are unsure about.  RAA carries out this consultation as part of every application to maximise the success rate of applications

Types of Permission
There are four types of planning permission only three of which are relevant to the current discourse: permission, outline permission and permission consequent on outline permission. The most common type is permission, sometimes called full permission. However, if you want to see whether the planning authority agrees in principle to your building a house on a particular site or building a large extension, you might apply for outline permission. In this case you only have to produce the plans and particulars that are necessary to enable the planning authority to make a decision in relation to the siting, layout or other proposals for development.

If you get outline permission you will have to submit detailed drawings and receive consequent permission before you start building work. Generally, outline permissions have a three-year duration.

It is an offence to carry out any work that requires planning permission without planning permission, and the offence can carry very heavy fines and imprisonment. However, if a genuine mistake has been made, it is possible to apply for planning permission to retain an unauthorised development. This permission may be refused, in which case, the unauthorised development will have to be demolished.

How do you apply
You apply for planning permission by filling in an application form and submitting it together with required documents to your local authority. IN some instances this application can be made online

 


Public Notice
You must give a public notice of your proposals before making an application. This must be done by placing a notice in a locally circulating newspaper from the list published by your local authority and putting up a site notice that can be clearly read.

The application must be received by the local authority within two weeks of the notice appearing in the local newspaper and the erection of the site notice. The site notice must remain in place for at least five weeks from the date of lodgement of the planning application.

 

Erect a public notice on the site following the guidelines in the planning application form. This must go up in the two week period before the day you make the application and stay up for at least five weeks afterwards.At the same time place a notice of your intentions to build in a locally circulating paper from the list published by your local authority. Keep this notice in the paper for later production of proof of having placed it.Your application must be received by the local authority within two weeks of the notice appearing in the local paper. Address it to the Chief Officer of the Planning Department of your local authority and include your fee with the application.The current fee for an application to build a house is 65 euros.


Documents to include in your application
In making your application you will need to submit the following documents:

  • Six copies of a location map of sufficient size and containing details of features in the vicinity such as to permit the identification of the site to which the application relates. Scale should not be less than 1:1000 in built-up areas and 1:2500 in all other areas and marked or coloured so as to identify clearly the land or structure to which the application relates and the boundaries thereof.

 

  • Site or layout plan (six copies)

 

  • Other plans, elevations and sections (six copies)

 

  • The page of the newspaper containing the public notice

 

  • One copy of the site notice.

 

  • Copies of public notices (newspaper and site)

 

  • A plan showing the position of the site notice or notices


Where appropriate, a certificate issued by the planning authority stating that compliance with Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 shall not apply to the development. If such a certificate has been applied for but not issued, a copy of the application, which itself must meet specific requirements will suffice.

The appropriate fee,  the calculation of which should consider all aspects of the proposed development including demolition of an existing house.

The requirements of the planning and development regulations, as they affect the documentation to be submitted with a planning application, are complex. If the documentation doe not comply with the requirements then the application will be returned by the local authority as invalid, thus delaying the process. The advice of a professionally qualified architect should therefore be sought.

How long does it take
Generally the local planning authority must make a decision on a planning application within eight weeks of receiving the application. However, if the local authority invalidates the application, needs more information, or if the decision is appealed, it will take much longer, so it is important to supply all information correctly.

How much does it cost
You have to pay a fee with your application. Different fees apply to different types of development. The current fee for an application to build a house is sixty-five euros. The fee for a house extension or the conversion of a garage, etc, for use as part of a house is thirty-four euros.

What happens after you have applied?
Your application will be checked by the local authority and, if it is validated, you will be sent confirmation that your application has been received and, it will be placed on the planning register in the planning authority offices for public inspection. Your application will also be included on the lists of planning applications displayed in council offices, public libraries and circulated to certain interest groups. A council official will usually inspect the development site; you may be asked to make an appointment to allow access.

Any member of the public has the right to inspect or purchase a copy of your planning permission and, on payments of a fee of twenty euros, make a written submission or observation on it. The submission or observation must be made within five weeks of the date of receipt of the planning application. Comments must be based on planning considerations not on personal likes or dislikes.

After considering all information and referring to the local development plan a decision will be made by the local authority on your planning application and it will be relayed in writing to you and anyone who commented on it. Planning permission normally lasts for five years

What happens after you receive permission?
If the local authority decides to grant you planning permission, you will receive a notice of that decision. If no appeals the decision to An Bord Pleanala within four weeks of the date of this decision, you will receive the grant of permission from the local authority.

You must not start building before you receive the grant of permission. Normally, planning permission is subject to conditions, some of which may require changes to your proposals.  Some of these conditions are  “prior to development conditions” which must be agreed with the local authority  prior to commencement . You may be required to make a financial contribution towards the construction of any road, water supply or sewerage scheme that may be necessary.

What happens if you are refused?
If the local authority refuses your application it will give you the reason for this. You have four weeks from the date of their decision to appeal to An Bord Pleanala. You can also appeal conditions attached to your permission. Your appeal must include the full grounds of the appeal with supporting material and arguments. No further submissions or elaborations on these grounds of appeal can be accepted by the board. The appeal must be made in writing to:

The Secretary
An Bord Pleanala
64 Marlborough street
Dublin 1

Before making an application to ensure your application gets dealt with as speedily as possible, there are a number of key issues you need to focus on before making your application.

Domestic effluent/waste disposal
Where effluent disposal is by means of a septic tank, applicants are encouraged to have trial holes dug to assess soil suitability following consultation with their local Environmental Health Officer. See “Environmental Health Officers” in the menu listing here on this web-site.

They may carry out the inspection themselves or nominate/suggest a qualified individual to do so. The cost of this depends on the individual. This prior consultation is advised so that an appointment can be made to facilitate inspection of the hole after it has been dug, if so required.

The hole should be dug at the proposed location of the septic tank system. In the event that the submitted location should not prove suitable, you may be required to further consult with the EHO and provide such further trial holes or alternative proposals as may be required. In some cases where a conventional septic tank system would be unsuitable, site improvement works will have to be carried out.

These improvement works include lowering the ater table by drainage, increasing the soil depth by importing suitable soil or replacing existing, unsuitable soil


Areas of high/especially high amenity.
For planning purposes, parts of the County are zoned as areas of High Amenity/Special High Amenity. If a site is located in one of these areas, applicants are advised to have a lath erected on the site to the proposed ridge level of the house. This will assist the Council in making a more complete assessment of the effect of the proposed development on the amenities of the area. In some cases it may be necessary to choose an alternative site which has a lesser impact.

House Design

When considering design for a dwelling , you should take particular care that it will be compatible or sympathetic to the adjoining landscape and other houses in the locality. This applies especially to roof type, windows, brick type, porches etc. Try always to consider traditional design. Advice from an RIAI registered architect will be invaluable in this regard. The Councils own “design guide” with which your architect will be familiar, will be of assistance to you in choosing an acceptable design.

Extensions
Extensions, mainly to the rear of private houses, are a cause for serious concern to the Council where these are proposed over existing public services. Generally, the council will require that the services be re-routed around the extension. In some cases this is not possible and permission is granted with conditions that foundations are arched over the particular service. In the case of sewers, a manhole is provided on each side of the extension.

The council reserves the right to maintain the sewer under a wayleave agreement, even to the extent of digging up the floor of the extension should this become necessary. Applicants may not be aware of this and regard to this should be had when planning an extension. Any re-routing would be at an applicants expense.
 

  • Issues to be considered in making an applicationZoning and land use

  • Plot ratios and density

  • Flood plains and site conditions

  • Adjoining owners and boundaries

  • Overlooking and visual impact

  • Access

  • Site services

  • Water Supply

  • Surface water run-off

  • ESB and telecom poles

  • Demolition of habitable house

  • Development which encroaches on land not owned by occupant

  • Courtyard - Contemporary intervention announces internal interventions

 
Useful Links

Where to apply

  • To apply for planning permission, contact the Chief Officer of the Planning Department of your local authority. For a full listing of the local Planning Authorities see the menu listing on this web site.