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  • In the President’s address at the Irish Planning Institute’s National Planning Conference the focus was on the number of planning authorities in the country and whether these are really required. 

    The Presidents questioning of this system of planning authorities is about time in my opinion. There are a total of 88 planning authorities in (the Republic of) Ireland each with its own elected members etc.  This seems crazy given the fact that there are only 26 counties and the entire population of Ireland is similar to that of Manchester.  Whilst a case can be made for Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoighaire Rathdown the same cannot be said of other counties. Take Kildare for example which has separate authorities for the county, Naas and Athy.  Athy is not even one of the most populous towns in the county.  Surely one planning authority for the county is sufficient.  If the county council can deal with planning in Newbridge, Leixlip, Celbridge, Maynooth etc then it can also include Naas and Athy.

    Published on April 26, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Comments on Planning; Tagged as: ,
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  • The An Taisce report on planning in Ireland claims that there was enough zoned land at the height of the boom to cater for a doubling of the entire population — up to 8m people.
    A review of planning across 34 city and county councils found that in 2008 42,000 hectares were zoned for residential purposes — enough for 4m extra people on top of the 4.4m population at that time.

    An Taisce further claims that 40% of the €75bn property portfolio transferred to Nama was categorised as “development land” which will be reclassified to agriculture over the coming years. This will result in the value of Nama’s development land plummeting from a paper figure of €30bn to a single-digit figure, costing tens of billions in losses for taxpayers over generations.

    Donegal was found to have had the worst planning record. An Taisce found Donegal had about 2,250 hectares of residential land in 2010, enough for a population increase of 180,000. However, half of planning permissions over the past decade were granted on unzoned land.

    An Taisce subsequently had to republish the report when a significant error was pointed out in terms of how the indicators used to analyse the councils were applied.

    Published on April 26, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Reports; Tagged as: ,
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  • The question sometimes arises as to whether permission for a restaurant also confers permission for a take-away service as part of the restaurant.  A significant number of restaurants provide an ancillary take-away service and this element of the business has become even more important during the economic downturn as people find it cheaper to get a take-away.  Yet how many of these restaurants have planning permission for this service.  In most cases I suspect the answer is none.

    In a recent decision on a section 5 declaration Dublin City Council ruled that planning permission for a take-away use and related home delivery service at a Chinese restaurant at Kish House, Greendale Road, Dublin 5 was not exempt development and ergo planning permission was required.

    The applicants subsequently sought planning permission for an ancillary hot food delivery service to existing Chinese restaurant. The Board granted permission for the ancillary hot food takeaway.  Interestingly the Board restricted the permission to 3 years in order enable the impact of the development to be re-assessed, having regard to the circumstances pertaining at that time.  The practice of granting temporary planning permissions by means of restrictive conditions for small-scale developments that have the potential to impact on residential amenity etc is becoming more popular.  Fingal County Council apply similar restrictions to crèche facilities in residential areas, particularly in the Dublin 15 area.  It begs the question as to whether this practice is reasonable as surely the circumstances relating to every development can change over time, yet they are not restricted by such onerous conditions.

    Published on April 26, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions; Tagged as: ,
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  • An Bord Pleanála have refused permission to Ecopower Developments Limited for 9 no. number wind turbines at County Waterford.  The site involved 62.7 hectares of land in the control of Coillte.

     The Council refused permission having regard to the scale and layout on a scenic exposed upland area which would constitute a visually dominant and prominent obtrusive feature within a vulnerable scenic rural landscape when seen against the elevated skyline background from public roads (including a designated Scenic route).

     The ultimate reason for refusal given by the Board however is somewhat unusual in that they refused permission on the inadequacy of the EIS, rather than the actual proposed development itself.

     “Notwithstanding the site location in a preferred area for wind energy in the Waterford County Development Plan 2011-2017, having regard to the following deficiencies in the EIS and documents submitted by the applicant in the course of the application and appeal:

    •  inadequate assessment of visual impacts and potential impacts on tourism,
    • inadequate assessment of potential impacts on water quality and proposals in relation to drainage management,
    • inadequate assessment in relation to transportation and local road improvements (including potential impacts on architectural heritage and ecology), and
    • inadequate assessment of potential ecological impacts including on bird species and on the Natura 2000 network in the wider area,

     the Board is not satisfied that the proposed development would not have significant adverse effects on the environment. The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

    Published on April 26, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions, Rural Planning; Tagged as: , ,
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  • The Minister has signed off on new changes to applications for events requiring outdoor licences.  Now have to apply within 10 weeks of event instead of 16 weeks – effective 4th april 2012.

    Published on April 26, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation, Uncategorized; Tagged as:
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  •  Eirgrid are proposing a high voltage corridor, most likely overhead and covering at least 250km with pylons every 4km in an effort to address deficiencies in energy supply.

    The proposed lines will go through Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow

    Submission are being sought as part of a non-statutory consultation process from today and will run for an eight-week, Thursday 12th April 2012 to Friday 8th June 2012.

    Further details including a map of the study area are available at

    http://www.eirgridprojects.com/projects/gridlink/

    Published on April 12, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Notices, Rural Planning; Tagged as: , , , ,
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  • The Department of Environment Community and Local Government today launched Myplan.ie a website which acts as a portal for all plans and zoning in Ireland.  It allows a user of the site to click on any settlement in Ireland and immediately see what the zoning objectives are within that town. 

    In trying it out myself today I found that I could very quickly find a town, see the relevant zoning objectives, click on the zoning to find out the accompanying wording and also find out the life time of the relevant Plan.  The quality of the mapping is very high.  Often I have found that zoning maps have been saved as pdfs on Council website with no capacity to zoom in or at least when you did the map just became a blur.  This is a welcome planning tool and should make it far more convenient to quickly determine up to date zoning objectives.  Furthermore the DoECLG see this website as only being the start of coordinating planning information on a country-wide basis.

     

     

     

    Published on April 4, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Comments on Planning;
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