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  • Two new appointments were made to An Bord Pleanala during May 2014.

    Philip Jones is a professional town/spatial planner. He has a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCD, and a Diploma in Legal Studies from DIT. He is a Fellow of the Irish Planning Institute, and served as its President for two terms in 1999 – 2001. Philip has 34 years’ experience as a planner in a variety of public sector organisations, having served as Assistant Planner and then City Planner for Waterford City Council for 6 years, County Planner for Kildare County Council for 13 years, and worked with An Bord Pleanála since 1999, initially as Senior Planning Inspector and from 2007 as Assistant Director of Planning.

    Paul Hyde (BSc. Arch, MA, MPlan, MRIAI, RIBA) was the managing partner of the Hyde Partnership, a multi disciplinary design and planning practice until his appointment to the Board. He holds degrees in both Architecture and Planning & Sustainable Development. A professional member of the RIAI, RIBA and IPI professional institutes, he has over 16 years of professional experience relating to the built environment and both terrestrial and coastal development and spatial planning. Paul has also attended a program at Harvard Business School in the area of effective corporate governance. He is currently undertaking an additional masters degree in Marine Spatial Planning. Prior to this appointment, in addition to his role in the Hyde Partnership he has held a number of committee memberships including; The Irish Planning Institute, Southern Branch and The Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland, Southern Branch and he was a member of Cork Chamber of Commerce.

    There are now 9 members on the Board including the Chairperson, with each ordinary member holding office for 5 years (Chairperson 7 years).

    Source: An Bord Pleanala Website as updated on 16th May 2014

    Published on May 29, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Uncategorized; Tagged as:
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  • The newly amended Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive which came into force on the 15th May 2014 seeks to offer better protection for the environment while also reducing administrative burdens.

    Based on the experience of the first 25 years of the Directive the new Directive seeks to address some of the more problematic areas and provide a more streamlined process.

    The key amendments are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on May 19, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as: , , ,
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  • This Government Strategy seeks to addresses housing, property and construction in a co-ordinated manner. One of the main themes is that of planning with the strategy recognising that the absence of good planning and strategic thinking in past years has served Ireland and its citizens badly.

    The goal is “to secure a proactive approach to planning, in which planning authorities actively engage with land and property owners, Approved Housing Bodies, and infrastructure providers in securing agreed planning goals and outcomes”. This would certainly make for a welcome change from the current situation where many developers and their agents feel that they are battling with the planners rather than working with them.
    It is noted that the following measures are to be introduced:

    • A National Planning Framework (presumably replacing the National Spatial Strategy)
    • A new Planning Bill
    • A new Policy Statement on Planning
    • An Office of Planning Regulation

    The following changes are also to be introduced: Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on May 15, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Reports; Tagged as: ,
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  • A question I’m often asked by architects is if they can make amendments to a proposed development as part of a first party appeal. The simple answer is yes; but it is qualified by the fact that the amendments must be of a nature that the Board could have applied by condition. In other words, if the amendments were of a significant nature and substantially altered the proposed development the Board cannot take these into consideration as third parties had no opportunity to comment on them. It is only in instances where the amendments are of a relatively minor nature and could have been conditioned that the Board will accept them. Each case is assessed on its merits by the Board and the Board will always notify appellants who include amendments in the letter of acknowledgement that amendments may not be taken into consideration pending assessment.

    In fact, even in cases where the Board’s own inspectors recommend a grant of permission subject to design alternations, the Board can subsequently form the view that these alterations are too radical and cannot be addressed by a planning condition. The Board are aware that a condition of this nature involves agreement with the local authority only and does not have any third party. Therefore they have to consider to what extent changes or amendments can be allowed.

    A typical example of this was the recent decision by the Board in respect of a mixed use development including retail and student accommodation, at a protected structure on 1-6 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. The inspector recommend a grant of permission including a condition which required a series of design amendments including the omission of an apartment; extension of a retail unit or similar use to fill the void; relocation of the bicycle storage room; recessing the front elevation and recessing the sixth floor of the three east-west block; replacing an grafitti wall with a plinth wall and amending the elevations of these blocks to provide a more light-weight approach incorporating curtain walling and incorporating articulation to break up the overall mass of the blocks and to provide a more vertical emphasis. The Board however refused permission partly relating to these specific issues. The Board’s Direction noted that the amendments suggested by the Inspector would “radically transform the building” and “were too great to be addressed by condition”.

    Published on May 13, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Comments on Planning; Tagged as: ,
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  • Eamon (Ted) Kelly, chairman of the Wind Turbine Action Group South Roscommon is seeking a Judicial Review of an An Bord Pleanala decision to grant planning permission for two wind farm developments in County Roscommon. The Judicial Review is being sought on the basis that An Bord Pleanála failed to specify why it approved permission for the wind farm close to special areas of protection and conservation in Co Roscommon, when two of its own inspectors recommended permission be refused.

    Leave for a Judicial Review has to be granted by the High Court in the first instance and this was obtained by the action group in November 2013. A Judicial Review of a decision by a planning authority focuses on the procedures involved in arriving at the determination rather than the decision itself. As such it is generally accepted that there is a very high bar to win any such review. However, Judicial Reviews are also very expensive and therefore they tend only to be taken when there are very strong grounds for argument.

    Published on May 8, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Court Cases, Green Energy; Tagged as: ,
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