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  • An Bord Pleanala Annual Report and Accounts 2014

    The An Bord Pleanala Annual Report and Accounts 2014 was published at the end of September 2015. It provides a useful insight to the workings of the Board in the current climate and the patterns that are emerging. Some of the key elements of the report are as follows.

    The intake of all planning cases in 2014 remained low and static at 1,810 compared to 1,814 in 2013. This reflects continued low levels of activity in the construction and development sectors. The Report notes that “While there are reports of an upturn in the economy, the impact in terms of an expected increase in levels of planning appeals and cases before An Bord Pleanála has not materialised as yet”.

    For normal planning appeals, which constitute the bulk of casework, 83% were disposed within the statutory objective period of 18 weeks in 2014, versus a target of 70-80%.

    An Bord Pleanála disposed of 20 Strategic Infrastructure Development cases during 2014 including two energy infrastructure projects, the reinstatement of a northbound stop in Dawson St. Dublin for the LUAS Cross City project, and a car park project at Dublin Airport.

    Over the course of 2014, 42 new legal challenges to decisions of the Board were brought before the Courts. This is a big increase on earlier years particularly when viewed relative to the reduced number of cases before the Board. The Courts upheld the majority of An Bord Pleanála’s decisions which were challenged. However, a small number of decisions were overturned on Appropriate Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment grounds. The report notes that “An Bord Pleanála has reviewed its procedures where appropriate and made changes to processes in relation to interpretation of the legislation in light of these latter judgements”.

    More than half of all normal planning appeals in 2014 related to residential development the bulk of which are categorised as householder development and single houses. Appeals in relation to multi-unit residential developments increased slightly towards the end of 2014 which is reflective of current economic conditions.
    30 wind farm cases were lodged during 2014. An Bord Pleanála disposed of 13 of these cases, in addition to a further 12 cases that had been lodged before 2014 (a total of 25 cases). Of the decisions, 17 (68%) were granted (including one strategic infrastructure development), seven (28%) were refused and one (4%) was withdrawn.

    Some normal planning appeals are classified as ‘Priority Appeals’. These are appeals in respect of developments which have a significant employment or economic potential, on a national, regional and / or local scale. Priority is also given to new school buildings / educational facilities, and extensions, in line with Government policy in this area. In 2014, 19 appeals in relation to school / education projects were received and classified as priority appeals to be disposed of, if possible, within 18 weeks.

    Dublin City Council, Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council and Kildare County Council (including Naas and Athy town councils) had the highest levels of decisions appealed respectively at 13.4%, 12.5% and 11.1%.
    In 2014, referrals (dealing with exempted development queries) were a significant category of casework with 91 cases received and 117 concluded.

    The majority (19) of the 24 oral hearings held during 2014 related to Strategic Infrastructure Developments and other types of Local Authority Projects. There were two oral hearings held which related to normal planning appeal cases, and three relating to other cases. Requests for oral hearings were made in 22 cases relating to normal planning appeals in 2014, of which 20 were refused and two were granted.

    Published on October 20, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Reports; Tagged as: ,
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