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  • Does weekend festival require planning permission?

    An Bord Pleanala recently had to decide as to whether a proposed weekend music and campervan festival at Bellurgan Park, Bellurgan, Dundalk, County Louth is exempted development.

    The festival involved:

    •  Family friendly festival aimed at music and campervan/motorhome enthusiasts  to run over a three-day weekend
    •  Have maximum capacity for 4,999 persons, with an anticipated 2012 attendance of 3,000 – 3,500 no. persons
    •  The site will have three stages; traders; food stalls; a kids’ zone; and hot tubs and showers
    •  All structures (marquees etc) will be temporary

    Upon initially posing the question to Louth County Council the Council issued a declaration stating that the said matter is development and is not exempted development.

    The question was then referred to An Bord Pleanala for consideration.  The Board’s Inspector assessed the festival under Class 37 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 – 20011 which exempts

    “Development consisting of the use of land for any fair, funfair, bazaar or circus or any local event of a religious, cultural, educational, practical, social, recreational or sporting character and the placing or maintenance of tents, vans or other temporary or removable structures or objects on the land in connection with such use”.  The inspector agreed with the Council that the event was not a local event and therefore was not exempted development.

    An Bord Pleanála however arrived at their decision based on a different assessment.  They concluded that the proposed weekend music and campervan festival would constitute an ‘event’ as defined in the planning acts and as per the act, works directly or solely relating to such an event shall not be construed as “development” within the meaning of the Act.  The Board treated the festival as an event even though it was stated that there would be less than 5,000 people which is the requirement for a licence under the planning act.  On the basis that the festival is an event the Bord ruled that the proposed weekend music and campervan festival at Bellurgan Park, Bellurgan, Dundalk, County Louth is not development.

    This decision shows is another example of how two different planning authorities (and indeed the inspector) can arrive at such different conclusions on the same planning matter and why the appeal process is so important.

    Ironically the actual festival was finished by the time the Board make their decision but at least the applicant can proceed ahead in future in the confidence that planning permission is not required for such events.





    Published on May 27, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions;
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