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  • Can a Planning Permission be Lost?

    The Molloy Case (Molloy & Ors – v – The Minister for Justice, 2004) found that in circumstances where a planning permission is capable of being implemented and there has been no material structural alteration to the land or property which would render the planning permission incapable of being implemented, a valid planning permission cannot be lost or abandoned. So, for example, in a situation where a planning permission was granted for a car dealership but that use ceased for a period having been implemented, the use as a car dealership can be reawakened if there has been no material structural alteration to the premises.

    A question recently came before the Board as to whether the resumption of a former fuel service station use at Cloncollig Commercial Park, Tullamore, County Offaly is or is not development or is or is not exempted development. The Molloy case was relied upon by the referrer but the Board found that the principles of Molloy did not apply and that the use as a petrol station had been abandoned.

    The lands in question had an authorised use as a filling station permitted and enacted pursuant to planning permission granted in 2001. Planning permission was subsequently granted in 2006 for the demolition of existing structures on site and the redevelopment of the site for a motor retail outlet although the Board were not clear if this planning permission was implemented.

    The Board noted that the demolition and removal of certain structures from the site including notably the petrol pumps and canopy was undertaken sometime post 2005. The subsequent use of the site for the sale of motor vehicles sometime post 2005 did not have the benefit of planning permission.

    An Bord Pleanála concluded that the use of the lands as a filling station are considered to have been abandoned as a consequence of the fact that the nature and extent of the structural alterations (including demolition) undertaken at the site effectively prevent the operation of the service station in accordance with the original planning permission. They also noted that the resumption of the former fuel service station use constitutes development being the resumption of an abandoned use that was not capable of being re-implemented in the absence of material works to the site.

    Therefore An Bord Pleanála decided that the resumption of the former fuel service station use is development and is not exempted development.

    Published on March 25, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Exempted Development, Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions;
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