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  • The draft version of the National Planning Framework Plan entitled Ireland 2040 is now available to view with submissions being sought by 3rd November 2017.

    The draft plan seeks predicts a growth of 1 million people during the lifetime of the Plan. This population growth will be dispersed as follows:

    ?25% is planned for Dublin, recognised as the key international and global city of scale and principal economic driver,
    ?25% across the other four cities combined (Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford), enabling all four to grow their population and jobs by 50-60%, and become cities of greater scale, i.e. growing by twice as much as they did over the previous 25 years to 2016, and
    ?with the remaining 50% of growth to occur in key regional centres, towns, villages and rural areas, to be determined in the forthcoming regional plans – Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSESs).

    Published on September 28, 2017 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines;
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  • The recent Circular from the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D addressing the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness (“Rebuilding Ireland”) is of particular interest. Its sends out a clear message to local authorities around the country to meet the Government agenda in terms of using the planning system to facilitate new housing to meet current and pent-up demand.

    The Circular notes, inter alia, that:

    • all planning applications for scheme housing or activity relating to potential applications such as pre-planning consultations, must be afforded the highest priority by planning authorities.

    • In collaboration with the new Housing Delivery Office, the Department will be establishing, in conjunction with local authorities, appropriate monitoring systems to compare and contrast rates of further information requests and decision-making periods, as well as general response times to requests for pre-application meetings relating to housing scheme type proposals.

    • sites in key demand areas, that have been zoned for many years, are ready-to-go but are not being made available for development should be examined critically to determine whether other similar well-located and ready-to-go but unzoned lands should be considered as alternative zoned lands, where the prospects for making available for development of such alternative lands are better.

    • Local authorities are reminded that, where pressures exist, the development plan variation process provides a Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on August 5, 2016 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines;
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  • The Government yesterday (21st December 2015) published updated guidelines on apartment standards – Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments.

    The new guidelines contain specific national planning policy requirements that will take precedence over policies and objectives of development plans, local area plans or strategic development zone planning schemes and will apply to all housing developments, whether public or private.

    The updated 2015 guidelines will be supported by legislation under the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2015 and will be the first set of Ministerial Guidelines issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended by the 2015 Act above which enables the Minister to set out ‘specific planning policy requirements’ which must be applied by planning authorities in the exercise of their functions.

    The updated 2015 apartment guidelines retain the minimum floor area standards that were set nationally in 2007 but require, for the first time, that the majority of apartments in an apartment scheme exceed the minimum floor area standard in the previous 2007 guidelines, by at least 10%.

    The updated guidelines introduce studio units as a possibility(min. 40sq.m), but only in managed, build-to let developments of over 50 units in certain circumstances.

    The updated guidelines also: Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on December 22, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as:
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  • The Government have published arrangements for the preparation of a National Planning Framework (15.12.15) as the overall strategic planning and development strategy for the country, including regional and local level planning and to be adopted by Dáil Éireann in line with provisions of the Planning Bill.

    The National Planning Framework will replace the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) which dates from 2002. As the highest level planning policy document for the country, the new Framework will provide a long term vision to guide future development and investment decisions and will also co-ordinate new regional assembly strategies and local authority county development plans.

    The Roadmap document sets out the role of the NPF as the overarching 20 year framework for spatial planning and regional development for regional and local authorities and An Bord Pleanála in their statutory planning functions. The NPF will also inform longer term investment in both physical infrastructure such as transport, housing, water services, energy, communications and social infrastructure relating to education and health.

    The NPF will have a high-level national focus. Concurrent within the NPF drafting process, new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSES) will be prepared by the three new Regional Assemblies to replace the current set of seven Regional Planning Guideline documents which expire in 2016. These new RSES’s will have a 12 year lifespan to 2028. The combined purpose of the NPF and RSESs is to set long-term national and regional development frameworks to ensure proper planning and sustainable development in an optimal manner.

    Published on December 21, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as:
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  • The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has issued a public notice stating that it intends to review and update the Development Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities 2007.

    The Department will consider whether changes should be made to the planning application process in order to improve efficiency while continuing to provide for appropriate and necessary public participation and environmental assessment.

    The Department will also consider whether further changes should be made to the exempted development provisions of the Regulations, specifically whether it is appropriate to exempt further development from the requirement to obtain planning permission.

    Comments/submissions are invited by Friday 14th March 2014.

    Published on February 5, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Exempted Development, Planning Guidelines, Planning Notices; Tagged as: ,
    1 Comment
  • The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013, which was enacted on the 25th December 2013, transferred a range of statutory water services functions from Local Authorities to Irish Water from the 1st January 2014. Therefore, as per advice given by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Planning Authorities cannot include conditions on permissions granted after the 1st of January 2014 that require contributions towards water infrastructure & facilities.

    source: freedigitalphotos.net

    source: freedigitalphotos.net

    Planning conditions from the 1st Jan 2014 are now reflecting the reduction to account for the water infrastructure element. It would appear that some of these permissions are in the position of not having to pay this element of the levy at all. They have fallen for decision in the period where the Council have stopped their responsibility in this regard but Irish Water are not yet active. However, Planning Authorities are advised to notify Irish Water of new planning applications as of the 1st of January 2014 so unfortunately it does not appear that this window of opportunity will continue.

    Published on January 23, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: ,
    1 Comment
  • The Development Contribution Guidelines for Local Authorities January 2013 have been updated in relation to renewable energy development. Authorities are encouraged to consider reduced or no charges in respect of a renewable energy development which is not supplying electricity to the national grid including small scale renewable energy developments generating energy primarily for onsite usage e.g. for domestic, agricultural, small industry and educational purposes.

    Furthermore it should be explicitly stated in all planning authority development contribution schemes that options for waivers, either full or partial, do not apply to proposed renewable energy developments primarily delivering energy off site (for sale), whether for use in Ireland or for export to another market.
    Authorities should also ensure that their schemes distinguish proportionately between large and small-scale. For example, it would be inappropriate to charge the same flat rate charge to a 6kW wind turbine as it would for a 3MW turbine.

    Published on January 23, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Green Energy, Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: , ,
    1 Comment
  • 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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  • A new manual has been jointly produced by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.  The Manual was been prepared by a Project Team with a range of relevant skills drawn from a number of local authorities (South Dublin, Fingal, Kildare, Cork City) and hosted by South Dublin County Council. Among other things it involved a focused stakeholder consultation exercise.

    The aim of the manual is to move away from the practice of designing streets as traffic corridors, and instead focus on the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. The manual is very similar to the UK’s Manual for Streets which came out in 2007.  Although it has taken another 6 years for a manual of this nature to emerge in Ireland it is worth the wait and it will finally provide a basis for moving away from a public realm dominated by the car and toward a public realm where more sustainable forms of transport have priority. 

    This urban design led approach is much needed in the Irish context, although it remains to be seen how local authority engineers will be able to square this approach with the safety requirements outlined in other guidance documents which they rely on when assessing proposals.  Too often high quality urban design based schemes have been refused or significantly altered in order to accommodated engineering based requirements.  The Manual does not seek to replace the private car but recognizes that we need to achieve a better balance in how our urban roads and streets are designed and used.

    Published on April 5, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: ,
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  • The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, intends to undertake a technical update of the guidance on noise (including separation distance) and shadow flicker in the Wind Energy Development Guidelines 2006.

    It is understood that a Private Members Bill is currently proposing increasing the setback from houses from 500 metres to as much as 2 kilometres to protect residential amenity.  This increased setback would restrict wind farm development to only a small portion of the country suitable wind farm development.

    Comments are invited by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government on these aspects of the Guidelines before February 15th, 2013.

    Published on February 6, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Green Energy, Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: , ,
    1 Comment
  • The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government have published guidelines for planning authority’s in relation to development contributions (planning levies).

    Key features of the new guidance include:

     1. A requirement for planning authorities to establish reduced rates of contribution for projects such as:

    • Developments in town centres
    • IDA/Enterprise Ireland projects
    • Broadband and sustainable energy infrastructure
    • Change of use permissions which do not require upgraded infrastructure.

    2. No exemption or waiver should apply to any applications for retention of development. Planning authorities are encouraged to impose higher rates in respect of such applications.

    3. Double charging is prohibited: Any development contribution already levied and paid in respect of a given development should be deducted from the subsequent charge so as to reflect that this development had already made a contribution.

    4. Development contribution schemes should appropriately promote the development of areas prioritised in their core strategies required  (eg: Incentivising activity through lower development contributions in the areas prioritised for development in the core strategy, with a complementary increase in the rate outside of these areas to ensure no shortfall in the council’s budget).

    Published on January 23, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: , ,
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  • The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government published new guidelines on planning enforcement on 19th November 2012.

    The guidelines set out:

    •  some examples of the types of activity/development that might constitute breaches of the planning code;
    • the respective roles and responsibilities of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and the planning authorities;
    • the procedures that planning authorities may adopt when taking enforcement action, including the remedies and sanctions available;
    • the process by which an individual can make a complaint about an alleged breach of the planning code;
    • the process by which someone can appeal against an adverse finding by a planning authority; and,
    • a short summary of the relevant legislative provisions.

     Interestingly the guidelines Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on November 30, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: ,
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  • The Minister of the Environment, Community and Local Government has issued an update in relation to certain sections of the Telecommunications Antennae and Support Structures Guidelines (1996) which planning authorities use to draft planning policies and assess planning applications.  The purpose of the updates is to support the planning system in facilitating the objectives set out under the National Broadband Plan. There are a number of significant changes included in these updates:

    Planning authorities should not include separation distances (i.e. from houses, protected structures, schools etc) in development plans as they prevent case-by-case analysis and can inadvertently have a major impact on the roll out of a viable and effective telecommunications network.  This will have implications for a number of planning authorities around the country who include specific distances, often up to 1 kilometre, from schools, houses etc.  It will also have implications for local communities who wish to object to proposed masts as they often could rely on policies which required such separation distances to be met in order to get the application refused.

    Planning authorities are advised that conditions limiting the life of telecommunication masts and antennae to a set temporary period should cease, except in exceptional circumstances.  The temporary nature of permissions meant that resident groups had the comfort that they could challenge any new application when the temporary period was finished.  This option will be removed as the structures will be permitted on a permanent basis. Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on November 13, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: , , ,
    2 Comments
  • Since the issuing of notices to quarry owners and operators there has been a lot of queries about substitute consent, what it involves and what needs to be done next.

    The first decision that needs to be made if the Council have directed an owner/operator to apply to An Bord Pleanala for substitute consent is if the Council’s decision needs to be challenged. The owner/operator has 21 days from the notice to seek a review and this stops the clock in terms of the substitute consent deadline (12 weeks). The reason for seeking a review would want to be very solid as there is a risk that the Board could decide that the Council’s decision to require a substitute consent application was wrong. This could ultimately lead to the closure of the quarry.

    If the decision is to proceed with making a substitute consent application to An Bord Pleanala then further decisions need to be made about seeking a pre-planning meeting with An Bord Pleanala (no fee), scoping of the remedial EIS (significant fee) and the need to extend the 12 week period. The latter requires a genuine reason for an extension. The key issue is not to miss the deadline whether it be 12 weeks or the extended version as this would be fatal in terms of the application.

    Published on September 7, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines, Rural Planning; Tagged as: , , ,
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  • New Draft Development Contribution Guidelines published

    The draft version of the Development Contribution (or planning levy) Guidelines have been published by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

    Key features in the new guidance include:

    • A requirement for planning authorities to put in place reduced rates of development  contributions or waivers for:
    •  development in town centres to support town centre development;
    •  change-of-use permissions, where change-of use does not lead to the need for new or     upgraded infrastructure / services;
    •  businesses grant-aided or supported by IDA/Enterprise Ireland or other local authority or   state supported local development agencies, as well as reduced rates for developments that would progress the Government’s Jobs Initiative; Read the rest of this entry »
    Published on August 1, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines;
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  • Draft Guidelines for planning authorities have been published in relation to the preparation of Local Area Plans.  There is a 6 week consultation period. The key emphasis will be on an evidenced based approach to informing future development needs.  A best practice manual accompanies the guidelines.

    The Guidelines can be found at http://www.environ.ie/en/DevelopmentHousing/PlanningDevelopment/Planning/PublicConsultations/

    Published on June 29, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines;
    No Comments
  • Very interesting article in Mondays Irish Times (25th June 2012) about inroducing new guidelines on reducing planning levies in certain circumstances:

    THE GOVERNMENT proposes to significantly lower development levies and give up to a full exemption to projects that create employment.

    Development levies peaked in 2007 at more than €900 million but fell to just under €200 million in 2009. Under draft guidelines to be published tomorrow, the Government proposes that local authorities lower charges associated with planning permission.

    There are three types of charges: those associated with general development which benefits from local authority services, such as roads and parks; special development contributions where the local authority has to provide special services, such as a new road or relocation of pipes; and supplementary development contributions which support the delivery of schemes such as Luas extensions or the reopened Cork to Midleton railway.

    Before the new schemes come into force, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan and Minister of State at the Department of the Environment Jan O’Sullivan are to encourage local authorities to collect outstanding charges. These sums could be significant.

    An estimated €150 million of the €300 million cost of the Luas Cherrywood extension was to be funded by development levies but much of this has yet to be paid for reasons generally associated with the downturn.

    The Ministers will also encourage local authorities to continue to levy charges for water services in advance of the formal handover of services to the new authority, Irish Water. Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on June 29, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines;
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  • The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has published new Retail Planning Guidelines and an accompanying Retail Design Manual.  Planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála are required to have regard to the guidelines in the performance of their functions under the Planning Acts.

    The convenience retail floor space caps of the new Retail Planning Guidelines are :

    • 4,000sq.m in the four Dublin Local Authority areas (Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown)
    • 3,500sq.m in the cities of Cork, Limerick, Shannon, Galway and Waterford
    • 3,000sq.m in the rest of the State.

    The new floor space caps apply to new retail stores or extensions to existing stores which will result in an aggregate increase in the net retail floor space of the convenience element of such retail stores.

    The Retail warehouse floorspace cap is 6,000sq.m gross (including any ancillary garden centre) and with specific criteria to allow for an exemption from this floorspace cap in city and town centre areas in the 5 Gateway cities of Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick/Shannon and Galway.

    The Petrol filling station shops floorspace cap remains at 100sq.m net irrespective of location

    The non-statutory Retail Design Manual is intended to assist both planning authorities and respective applicants in relation to design issues and the assessment of the vitality and viability of city and town centres.

    Published on May 31, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines, Retail Planning; Tagged as:
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  •  The Statutory Guidelines on Spatial Planning and National Roads were published on 31st January, 2012.

    The guidelines set out a clear national policy framework that local authorities will use in guiding development essential to Ireland’s economic recovery to the most appropriate locations.

    The guidelines highlight the need for early engagement and dialogue between the NRA and planning authorities in respect of devising appropriate policies and objectives for managing development within the broader context of the national road network and functions.

    These guidelines will primarily apply to the national roads network and set out policy with regard to planning considerations relating to development affecting national roads outside the 50-kph speed limit zones for cities, towns and villages.

    The guidelines are issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2010, thereby underpinned by statute. Planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála area required to have regard to the guidelines in carrying out their functions under the Planning Acts.

    Published on February 29, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines, Uncategorized;
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  • The guidelines (when finalised) will replace those guidelines issued in 2005. 

    The key changes in the new guidelines include:

    (1)      revisions to the convenience retail floorspace cap moving to a three tier approach that provides for a differentiation in cap limits between Dublin (4,000 m2), the other four main cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford (3,500 m2), and the remainder of the country (3,000 m2).

    (2)      the retail warehouse floorspace cap is to be maintained at 6,000 m2 and with specific criteria to allow for an exemption from this floorspace cap in city and town centre areas in the National Spatial Strategy gateway cities/towns; and

    (3)      the petrol filling station shops floorspace cap is to be maintained at 100 m2 irrespective of location.

    Emphasis on a plan-led approach involving greater co-operation by planning authorities in the preparation of joint or multi-planning authority retail strategies.  The draft Guidelines require the preparation of such strategies, by relevant planning authorities including the 5 gateway cities (Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick/Shannon).

    The closing date for receipt of submissions is 4 pm on Tuesday, 20 December, 2011.

    The finalised statutory Guidelines will be accompanied by a non-statutory Best Practice Manual which is intended to assist both planning authorities and prospective applicants in relation to design issues and the assessment of the vitality and viability of city and town centres.

    Published on November 21, 2011 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines, Retail Planning;
    1 Comment