A Guide to Planning Permission in Ireland
It is compulsory to 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.
Proceeding to build without planning permission will go against the planning laws and cause the local planning authority to get involved. This may lead to expensive demolitions, or even imprisonment, and can cause a serious problem for you selling your property at a later date. Lenders will not furnish money to a potential buyer unless your property satisfies the local planning rules.
Before you start planning, you should contact Declan Noonan & Associates. We are very familiar with Development Plans and Local Area plans. These state your local planning authority’s policies for land use and may advise particular local restrictions in relation to sewage systems, etc.
It is pointless to submit a plan that runs contrary to the Local Authority Development Plan, as it will not be accepted. We will be able to tell you whether your proposals are likely to comply with the Development Plan for your area. This will save you time and money in the long run.
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 location, 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?
It is best advised to use Declan Noonan & Associates to submit your application for you. We will ensure the planning application is up to standard with a high quality presentation, good technical content and a clear reasoning as to why you should be granted planning permission.
Contact us and we will be happy to make the application on your behalf.
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.
Documents to include in your application
- 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.
- 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
- 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 administration fee to the local planning authority.
* Please note that it is necessary to have a license to reproduce maps. Planning applications are screened for unlicensed copied material.
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 does not comply with the requirements then the application will be returned by the local authority as invalid, thus delaying the process.
We believe the chances of a successful planning application are greatly increased when you engage the services of an experienced planning agent, such as Declan Noonan & Associates.
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 to the local planning authority with your application. Different fees apply to different types of development. Contact Declan Noonan & Associates for a quotation specific to your needs. We are competitively priced and guarantee the highest quality of service.
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.
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 Pleanála 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.
Planning permission normally lasts for five years. 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 Pleanála. You can also appeal conditions attached to your permission. Your appeal must include the full grounds of the appeal with supporting material and arguments and the appropriate appeal fee required by An Bord Pleanála.
Launching an appeal with An Bord Pleanála is a serious step, as it is really your last resort. Consult with Declan Noonan & Associates and we will assess all the elements of your refusal. We will advise you on what is the best course of action for you. This may not be to launch an appeal straight away. It may be more beneficial to examine the grounds for refusal and submit a new application to the local planning authority. Either way, put our expertise and experience to work for you, so you can be assured your appeal will have the best possible chance of success.
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 carry out a Site Suitability Assessment. This needs to be completed very early in the whole planning process. If the results are not positive then the application will not be accepted by the local authority. Declan Noonan & Associates can carry out this assessment for you. We can help devise an acceptable system for your site and location. Click here for further information.
In areas where the planning authority deem having high amenity value, it is often requested for sight poles to be erected. These are poles painted in one meter segments in white and red and are erected on site to represent the height and length of the proposed structure. The planning authorities use these sight poles to assess the visual impact of the proposed structure on the landscape and amenity of the area. 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.
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. We have years of experience in designing projects for sensitive areas. Contact us for advise in choosing an acceptable design.
Here at Declan Noonan & Assoicates we have a proven track record in securing planning permission at ‘difficult’ sites where visibility has been identified as a critical issue at the pre-planning stage.
Any new access which is proposed onto an existing public road must comply with the visibility sight line requirements of the National Roads Authority’s Design Manual for Roads and Bridges or any other design standard approved by the Local Authority. In the interests of road safety there must be sufficient visibility available to drivers looking in both directions from the proposed access and also for drivers approaching the proposed access. This is to ensure that drivers have sufficient time to slow down or stop comfortably when approaching a potential hazard.
If the required sight lines can not be achieved there are some measures that can be taken. For example, the required sight line or sight distances can be reduced by proving that 85% of the vehicles, passing the proposed site, travel slower that the legal speed limit. In order to demonstrate this and implement a reduced sight line, then a speed survey needs to be carried out.
If the site does not adjoin a public road, you must submit documentary evidence of your right of way to access the site from the public road. We can ensure that this is taken care of for you.
Where water supply is from a group scheme, a letter from the Promoter of the scheme confirming the applicant has permission to connect to it should be submitted with the application. The name of the Group scheme should be clearly indicated.
Where it is proposed to use a well or spring as the source of water supply, it is advisable to have the water tested both for quality and quantity. A minimum of 200 gallons of water per day is the normal requirement for an ordinary domestic dwelling.
Generally wells should be constructed in accordance with the standards laid down by the geological survey of Ireland and further advice on the location and appropriateness of a well can be obtained by contacting Declan Noonan & Associates.
There is an individual water supply grant scheme for those whose house is not connected to either a public or group scheme. The grant is worth up to 2,031 euros (or 75% of the cost of the work, whichever is the lesser) and must be used for the provision of a new water supply.
The kind of work that would be eligible for the grant is the drilling of a new well or the provision of essential pumping or water filtration/disinfection equipment. For more details and application forms you should apply to your local authority.
We have a Chartered Environmentalist on the team to ensure that all our developments are in line with the latest environmental practices and legislation.
|Septic tank, intermittent filters, packaged systems, percolation area,polishing filters (m)|
|Surface Water Soakaway||5|
|Watercourse / Stream||10|
|Heritage features, National Heritage Area (NHA) / Special Area of Conservation (SAC)||-|
|Lake or foreshore||50|
|Any dwelling house||7 – septic tank
10 – percolation area
|Slope break / cuts||4|
| The soakaway for surface water drainage should be located down gradient of the percolation area or polishing filter and also ensure that this distance is maintained from neighbouring storm water disposal areas or soakaways.2 The distances required are dependent on the importance of the feature. Therefore, advice should be sought from your local planning agent, Declan Noonan & Associates.3 Tree roots may lead to the generation of preferential flow paths. The canopy spread indicates potential root coverage.|
Minimum Separation Distances in Metres
Surface water run-off
Surface water run-off from elevated sites causes the most problems. Plans should indicate proposals for collection ad disposal of run-off from embankments and the provision of channels, kerbs or grids for run-off from paved areas. Similarly, proposals to ensure that no water from the public road enters the site should also be shown. In major developments, estimates of storm run-off and assessment of the capacity of the receiving drain to accommodate it should be submitted.
ESB and telecom poles
Existing poles should be shown on site layout plan along with proposals to resite, if necessary. All poles should be located along or behind the proposed fence line or replaced with underground ducting, where appropriate.
We can investigate, for you, the feasibility of having a supply connected to your dwelling or having existing ESB or Eircom lines diverted. There is a charge for getting connected to the ESB and this varies, depending on the distance from your nearest connection.
Demolition of habitable house
If you want to demolish a habitable house, you will require planning permission. This should be included in the public notice and the additional fee of 80 euros paid.
Development which encroaches on land not owned by occupant
Where an application clearly involves some work on land that is outside the site boundaries, you can avoid delays by sending in with the original application, letters from the landowner or other persons affected, giving their consent to the proposal. Topics may include hedge removal as referred to under traffic safety, septic tank close to boundaries, shared walls, overhanging eaves, gutter, use of right-of-way for access etc.
These letters should be clear as to what is proposed and as accurate and legible as possible. If possible, there should be a legal agreement or sufficient to form the basis of a legal agreement. The letters submitted should clearly state whom the agreement is between and exactly what is being consented to.
Grants: Do you qualify?
We can advise on whether or not you may qualify for grant assistance in building your own home, depending on a range of factors.
Points of Information
Sometimes planning permission is subject to conditions, which may require changes to your proposals. (For example, you may be required to make a financial contribution to the construction of any road, water supply or sewerage works, which may be necessary)
If the local authority refuses your application, they will give you the reasons for this, and you have four weeks to appeal to An Bord Pleanála. Click here for further information on planning appeals.
It is possible in certain circumstances to apply for planning permission to retain a structure that has been built without permission or changes that have been made during construction over the years that altered the look of the property or layout. Before you can sell, this property must first be planning permission compliant. To regularise an already constructed property you can apply for planning permission to retain the changes. Applying for retention planning is very straightforward and the vast amount of applications are granted without difficulty, once they are presented in the right manner to the local authority. We can put together a Retention Planning Pack that is tailored to your needs.