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  • The first set of statutory guidelines on the preparation of local authority local area plans were published at the end of June.

    The new guidelines will bring about higher standards in the preparation, presentation and implementation of some 350 local area plans that are prepared by local authorities around the country ensuring that such plans both reflect the needs of local communities and comply with national legislative and policy requirements.

    The new Guidelines are the first statutory guidance published for planning authorities on how to deliver on their mandatory obligations to prepare Local Area Plans since the concept of local area plans was introduced in legislation in 2000.  The guidelines will inform the preparation of local plans for all towns with populations of over 5,000, as well as informing on-going reviews of local area plans required by the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010.

    A best practice manual has also been developed to offer additional support to planning authorities in developing these plans.


    The guidelines can be downloaded on the DoECLG website.

    Published on July 30, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines;
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  • An Bord Pleanala have granted permission for a large multi purpose/events centre in Albert Quay East, Cork City with a gross floor area of 8,425sq.m.  The venue will be used for concerts, conferences, sporting and leisure events and trade shows.

    The site is located in an area zoned as Commercial Core Area in the Cork City Development Plan 2009-2015 with the objective “to support the retention and expansion of a wide range of commercial, cultural, leisure and residential uses in the commercial core area (apart from comparison retail uses)”.  The An Bord Pleanala Inspector recommended a refusal on the basis of overdevelopment.

    “Having regard to;  • The quantum of development being proposed on a relatively restricted site,  • The complex and counterintuitive access arrangements which  patrons would be required to adopt,  • To the likelihood of significant numbers of pedestrians congregating on a relatively narrow footpath in proximity to a busy traffic route and a proposed Bus Rapid Transit lane,    • To the single public street frontage available to accommodate access for patrons, performers and services,  • To the inadequate provision for disabled parking and bicycle parking,   It is considered that the proposed development would comprise over development of a restricted site and through the creation of congestion and conflict between pedestrians and vehicular traffic on Albert Quay East and the surrounding road network would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard.”

    The Board however granted permission subject to 17 no. conditions.   In deciding not to accept the Inspector’s recommendation to refuse permission, the Board had agreed that the proposed development as originally conceived, with a single point of access and egress from Albert Quay, represented a potential danger to public safety by reason of traffic hazard. However, the Board considered that the revised proposal which incorporates a second point of access/egress to Albert Road overcame this concern.

    This case clearly points out the necessity to review the proposed design as part of any appeal as the Board are open to design modifications, but only where they consider that the suggested modifications are reasonable and don’t deviate from the public notices. Essentially the modifications should be of a nature that they could be conditioned.


    Published on July 30, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions;
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  • An application to convert enterprise/light industrial units into an anchor store with smaller retail units has been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanala who overturned their inspector’s recommendation to grant permission. The site is zoned business and technology and formed part of a large business park (Melbourne Business Park, Cork) where there had been a history of attempts to obtain retail use.

    The Cork City planners had originally lent their support to the scheme and supported a material contravention procedure.  However the elected members unanimously rejected the material contravention of the city development plan and thus the Council were obliged to refuse permission.  It is understood this is the first time there was ever a unanimous decision of this nature in the Council. The applicant appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanala who granted permission.

    Following a court case which An Bord Pleanala did not contest, the judge ruled that the decision be quashed and the Board had to again consider the application.  This time around, despite the inspector’s recommendation for a grant, the Bord ruled that the application should be refused on the basis that the proposal materially contravened the development plan zoning.  Critically in considering the application for the second time the Board noted that they were restricted by 37(2) (b) (ii) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000.



    Published on July 30, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions;
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