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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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  • The Supreme Court have unanimously ruled that An Bord Pleanala decisions become final only when they are put in formal writing in the form of an order and not when they are made at Board meetings, as was contended by An Bord Pleanala.

    This important clarification arose from two commercial developments whereby objectors has withdrawn appeals yet An Bord Pleanala continued to issue a decision on the appeal as the withdrawal occurred after the decision was made at the Board meeting.

    The decision means the two commercial developments, one in Wicklow and one in Wexford, can now proceed.

    Published on December 10, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Court Cases; Tagged as: , , ,
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  • In something of a throw-back to Celtic tiger days a large-scale residential application has been approved by An Bord Pleanala.  Such applications are a rarity these days.

    The application initially consisted for a mixed use development comprising 281 residential units, a public park (4.91 h) community buildings, a 3 storey neighbourhood centre, new road junction access off Drogheda Road (N2) and associated works at Rathgory, Mulledrillen, Drogheda Road, Ardee, Co. Louth.  Permission was sought for a 10 year period.

    The NRA objected to the proposed development stating that, notwithstanding the zoning designation of the land, the authority is concerned that the development as proposed will have a significant detrimental impact on the capacity, safety and operational efficiency on the national road network.

    Louth County Council granted permission but the DoEH&LG and a local residents group appealed the decision. 

    The applicants sent revised layouts into the Board reducing the number of units to 140.

    The ABP Inspector concluded that Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on January 30, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions; Tagged as: , , , , , ,
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  •  An application for a change of use from retail to gaming and amusement arcade and associated signage at ground floor, No 108 Parnell Street (corner of North Cumberland Street ad Parnell Street) Dublin 1 has been refused.

    The application was refused by Dublin City Council even though permitted in principle under the zoning objective.

    The ABP Inspector recommended a grant of permission having regard to the general mixed use character of the area, the various retail uses along Parnell Street and the location which is removed from the designated premier shopping streets of the City Centre Retail Core.

    The Board however ultimately refused permission.  In deciding not to accept the Inspector’s recommendation to grant permission, the Board considered that there is an emerging pattern of gaming and amusement arcades in the general area and the proposed development, located in the sole commercial unit within a residential block, would seriously injure the amenities of the area.

    This decision is a victory for the residents of the area who appealed but shows how the prevalence of a particular landuse in a local area can be used to form the basis of a refusal. 


    Published on January 30, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions; Tagged as: , , , ,
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  • Permission has been granted by An Bord Pleanala for a large-scale, town centre, mixed use development in Carlow. 

    The development involves the demolition of the existing Penney’s Store and Hanover Shopping Centre and adjoining buildings. It is proposed to construct a retail development with a gross floor area of 26,071 sqm comprising of 36 units, a cafe and food court, an occasional farmers market, offices and 30 residential units. The development will be contained in a two, three, five and seven storey structure over a single level underground car park.  The proposed development represents a 26% reduction and revision of a previously approved mixed use development on the same site

    Carlow Town Council granted permission for the development however it was appealed by a neighbouring resident.  An Bord Pleanala upheld the Council’s decision on the basis of the town centre zoning of the site, the policies in the development plan, the pattern of development in the area and the planning history.  However, they conditioned the omission of 6 retail units primarily from the upper levels of the development.

    Published on November 25, 2011 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions; Tagged as: , , , ,
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