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  • ‘Clean Energy Hub’ is Bord na Móna’s planned approach for the development of a number of linked wind farms in the East Midlands on cutaway peatlands coming out of peat production.  According to the Bord na Mona website the new green energy project will generate some 2GW of electricity when fully operational and create an export business of €1billion annual revenue for the State owned company.  It will involve the development of a number of separate wind farms that will be principally centred on the company’s extensive 20,000 ha of cutaway peatlands in East Offaly and West Kildare. The company has set a target of 2020 to bring this project on stream.  Bord na Móna has announced plans for an extensive Community Consultation Programme across the Midlands commencing in the coming weeks. The programme will see the company engage with local groups and stakeholders as it draws up its detailed planning applications in the coming months.  The announcement of the Bord na Mona project, along with the two private companies looking to established large-scale windfarms for energy export, means that the issue of windfarm development is to remain a hot topic of debate in the midlands for the foreseeable future.

    Published on October 25, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Green Energy;
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  • The Living City Initiative is a targeted tax incentive which seeks to promote the regeneration of urban historic areas focusing on:

    1. Encouraging people back to the centre of Irish cities to live in historic buildings;

    2. Encouraging the regeneration of the retail heartland of central business districts.

    The initiative will provide tax incentives for works carried out to refurbish residential and retail buildings in the designated areas either to bring them up to a habitable standard or to make improvements to buildings which are currently inhabited.

    The Living City Initiative was first introduced by the Minister of Finance as part of the Finance Act 2013, as a pilot programme to be delivered initially in two locations – Limerick and Waterford – and limited to Georgian buildings.  The Minister for Finance announced in Budget 2014 that this would be extended to Dublin,  Cork, Kilkenny and Galway and to all buildings in the relevant areas built prior to 1915.

    There appears to be some ambiguity as to what exact buildings will qualify under the extension, but the scheme is dependant on securing EU State Aid funding and more clarity will likely be provided at that time.

    If the State Aid funding is secured the initiative would appear to be a positive from a planning perspective encouraging redevelopment of the large stock of historic residential and commercial buildings in the centre of our cities which have fallen into disrepair.

    Published on October 22, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Comments on Planning;
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  • Update to the post on 9th October concerning the Supreme Court challenge regarding the right of an unincorporated body such as a residents group to seek a judicial review. The Supreme Court ruled that an unincorporated group such as a residents group is entitled to seek a judicial review of a decision by An Bord Pleanala.

    Published on October 15, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Uncategorized;
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  • In a move replicating motions which have been passed by Westmeath and Offaly County Councils, Kildare County Council Labour Councillors have tabled a motion which seeks to vary the county development plan to include new policy restrictions on wind farm development.

    The following motion in relation to wind farm development has been tabled:

    “Councillors Browne, Byrne, Purcell, McGinley and Wall

    That the council vary the Kildare County Development Plan 2011-2017; 18.9 Energy and Communications and 18.9.1 Wind Energy Proposals, to include the following:

    –          A minimum set-back from a residence of 10 times the height of the turbine, where the turbine exceeds 100 metres. 

    –          Any proposal must show consideration for its impact on indigenous industries within the county and any impact, if any, such a proposal might have.

    –          Any proposal must consider the potential impact on the health and welfare, if any, of those living in the vicinity of the proposed development.”

    This motion will come before the Full Council at the Council meeting on Monday 21st October.

    ‘South Kildare Against Spin’, a local group who have formed to tackle proposed new wind farm development in the south of the county, have urged support for the Labour Party Motion and have called on all members of Kildare County Council, irrespective of party affiliation, to support the above motion stating that:- Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on October 15, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Green Energy, Rural Planning;
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  • An appeal against the High Court ruling that unincorporated bodies/groups like residents associations can take judicial review proceedings to appeal planning decisions on environmental grounds was heard by the Supreme Court yesterday.  The right of Sandymount and Merrion Residents Association (SAMRA) to challenge the An Bord Pleanala decision to grant permission for the extension of the Ringsend sewage treatment plant in Dublin was appealed by the State with Dublin City Council as a notice party supporting the State. The State are of the view that an unincorporated association cannot bring a judicial review of a planning decision. Heretofore the only way for an association or group appeal decisions by An Bord Pleanala was for one person to take the case on behalf of the group and for that one person to bare all the financial risk. This decision has major implications for residents groups all over the country.  The residents are relying on the provisions of the Aarhus Convention which was designed to improve public participation in decision-making and remove procedural hurdles in providing access to justice. The Supreme Court reserved its decision until Thursday 10th October 2013.

    Published on October 9, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Development Plan Notices; Tagged as:
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  • Plans have been unveiled for a knowledge and business quarter on the site of the 13-acre Smithwick’s Brewery in Kilkenny city.  The lands are in the ownership of Kilkenny local authorities having purchased the site from Diageo who are relocating Smithwicks brewery to Dublin. The urban design masterplan for the site was led by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. The plans include office accommodation for corporate, creative and technology companies; space for residential and retail use; a new third level research and development campus for the planned new Technological University of the South East; five new areas of public space; and a new city centre garden/park.

    Published on October 8, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Significant Planning Applications;
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  • EirGrid published a report on the Grid Link Project on 3rd September 2013 identifying a number of feasible 1km wide route corridor options for a new 400kV overhead power line linking Leinster and Munster.   The publication of the Stage 1 Report coincides with the beginning of a twelve week public consultation period with submission sought by 26th November 2013. The report containing the route corridor options is available to download at This is the 3rd consultation phase to date.  A planning application for the identified route will not take place before 2015. 

    Published on October 7, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Notices;
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  • In a recent referral case in Waterford, An Bord Pleanala has ruled, by a majority of 4 to 2, that a change of use from a permitted betting office which was never used for such use, to a hairdresser shop, is exempt from planning permission.  The general understanding heretofore was that only when a planning permission was fully implemented, could exempted development then be availed of.  Therefore this decision could well become a landmark case.

    The case relates to a building on Cork Road, Waterford where permission was granted, inter alia, for a fast food take-away and a betting office at ground floor level.  The take-away use was implemented but the betting office unit remained empty.

    Waterford City Council issued a declaration in March 2013 which concluded that the use as a hairdresser shop is development and is exempt development.   The development is considered exempt under Class 14(d) Part 1, Schedule 2 of the Regulations – which exempts a change of use from use from a betting office to a shop (a hairdresser falls within the definition of a shop).

    The Senior An Bord Pleanala Inspector dealing with the case however disagreed:-

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on October 7, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Exempted Development, Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions; Tagged as: ,
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  • Submissions on the Review of Part V of the Planning Act have now been completed (late September) and it remains to be seen what decisions will be made about the future of Part V for the planning system.

    The review of the social and affordable elements of Part V by the Department of Local Government and the Housing Agency was undertaken to try address the problems that exist with Part V and how it will work in tandem with the subsequent introduction in 2009 of an 80% Land Rezoning Tax.

    The review set out six options for the future – ranging from abolition or suspension to a new inclusionary zoning model.

    There is no known date for any final decision on Part V but it will be watched keenly to discover what will be the way forward.

    Published on October 4, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Reports, Residentail, Uncategorized;
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