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Planning Permission in Ireland in 2021 and the “locals only” rule.
Applying for planning permission (and actually getting it) is one of the most frustrating, nerve-wracking elements of creating a new home for you and your family. It is right up there on top of the most stressful tasks a person can undertake.
Ensuring that your project matches up to your expectations, whilst also fitting in with local and national policy, takes a lot of time and experience.
The formal application itself is pretty straightforward, however, it’s vital that you tackle the task with care and attention.
Mistakes and omissions at the planning stage can cause frustrating delays or even destroy your chances of success.
Another frustrating aspect of planning in Ireland is the dreaded “local needs” conditions, which I will go into great detail about, i.e. the legalities of such conditions and how you can assert your knowledge of these (illegal) rules at your pre-planning stage, WITHOUT jeopardising your application.
Whether you’ll be making your own application, or have a planning consultant or architect on board to do it for you, it’s worth knowing what’s involved and how you can get the best from it.
I have a booklet which explains all of the above and more information on the conditions of the local need etc.
*disclaimer, nothing in the enclosed article is any kind of legal advice, it is opinion based on experience and should not be taken as any form of advice, just opinion. Please seek independent planning and legal advice on any aspect of the planning process in Ireland before proceeding as you can not use this article as means for retribution should you fail. T. Clyne
So, Where to Start
BEFORE you do a single thing in regard to your new build, you need a pre-planning meeting.
Under Section 247 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 anyone who has an interest in land has a legal right to apply for and obtain a pre-planning meeting with the local planners (even with covid restrictions and new covid related legislation you are still entitled to this) so don’t let councils fob you off with covid excuses as there is nothing in the new emergency legislation to preclude you from this legal right, you can suggest zoom or skype meetings, etc, or even by phone, but you are entitled to this meeting regardless of the councils (stand) on no meetings.
ALL County Councils provide for face-to-face Pre-Planning Clinic Meetings in the Local Area Offices under
Section 247 of the 2000 Act. These Pre-Planning Clinic meetings must therefore adhere to the following criteria in order to comply with the legislation:
Official Pre-Planning Clinic Meetings will be given a specific reference number which can be linked
with the Planning Application (Q23) should one be submitted as a result of that pre-planning meeting.
A record of the time, place, and all details of the meeting must be recorded at the pre-planning clinic and
be made available to the public when the decision is made.
All written (2 copies) and electronic requests for pre-planning appointments must be accompanied by:
• A Cover letter which includes the name & address, telephone number of the owner/applicant,
detailed connections to the area, if working/born in the area, for how long etc. (under the Flemish case this is an illegal condition) its is now a rural need, make sure to have your RURAL neds case to put to the planners, “usually medical, family, work etc” and have this in a binder with everything you will need to prove your need)
• Details of the nature of the proposed development.
• A Site Location Map – showing clearly the location of the land. (If the site is part of a family farm,
submit a map outlining the full farm landholding and all current dwellinghouses on the land)
• Draft Site Plans and House design plans (photographs may be accepted instead of drawings)
• Confirmation of land ownership or written consent to the Planning Authority from the landowner to
provide pre-planning advice
Requests for Pre-Planning Clinics will not be accepted unless the above documents are included!
Each appointment will be acknowledged by letter/email giving a pre-planning number
IF THEY REFUSE A PRE PLANNING meeting for ANY reason, that includes covid restrictions, they are breaching your right to due process and as a public body, their decision to refuse you a legal right may be subject to an application for judicial review as they do not have the power to act ultra vires (outside the powers given to them) as they are a body and not entitled to override a legal right given to you by law. (Section 247 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 ). If you have been denied a pre-planning meeting you must apply for judicial review within 8 weeks, using a grounding affidavit and app
If you have been denied actual planning and wish to apply for judicial review it is a separate route for this, please see this legislation for an explanation. Sections 50 and 50A of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
Once you are ready to proceed
Below is a step-by-step planning application and the “local needs” (mostly) illegal conditions.