Earlier this month (9th November, 2018) the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government issued Circular Letter PL-09/2018, notifying planning authorities that the Minister has now signed the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 (Commencement) order 2018.
The Departmental commencement order can be accessed at https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/circular_pl09-2018_commencement_order.pdf The commencement notice clarifies and summarises the various parts of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 that were commenced on the 22nd of October, 2018. The overall content and provisions within the Amendment Act has been discussed previously within our newsletters. A wide range of items within the 2018 Amendment Act have now been commenced and these are set out in full in the department circular, however, those of particular note to practitioners and stakeholders within the planning system are listed below.
- Pre-planning consultations under Section 247 of the Act are now mandatory for developments of over 10 houses or non-residential development of more than 1,000sqm. Planning Authorities are now obliged to facilitate such meetings within 4 weeks of being requested, and it will be a validation issue, however, should a pre-planning meeting not be facilitated within the 4 week window it will not preclude an applicant from lodging an application provided evidence of the requested meeting is provided. The Minister is also now empowered to issue regulations setting out fee’s that will be payable to local authorities for pre-planning meetings.
- There is now a clearer requirement that the core strategy of a CDP is consistent with any specific planning policy requirements that have been specified in Section 28 Ministerial Guidelines
- Timing of the preparation and review of Developments Plans can now be extended by up to 13 weeks to allow them to consider Regional Spatial Economic Strategies (RSES), – i.e. to ensure compliance with RSES. As the first draft RSES’s have now been released for public consultation it is likely that any Development Plan currently under review will partake of this additional timeframe.
- The legislative framework for the Office of the Planning regulator has now been formally commenced
- The provisions of the 2018 Act establishing a primary legislative basis for Marine Spatial Planning has also been commenced.
- Elected members now have the power (by resolution of three-quarters of the members) to request the Chief Executive to prepare a report (report must be done within 4 weeks) on a proposal by them to initiate a variation of the development plan.
- The Formal legislative framework for National Planning Framework has commenced
- Submissions and reports received by Planning Authorities in relation to the preparation of their County Development Plans and Local Area Plans must now be made available on their website;
- Ministerial guidelines have been given a stronger standing now within Section 28, and Strategic Environmental and Habitats Directive Assessments must be carried out in relation to any planning guidelines
- Minister may make regulations facilitating e-planning and letting councillors not have to pay fee’s for submissions on applications in their own EA
- PA’s are now empowered in a clearer manner to take account of past failures of developers in refusing permission on current schemes – e.g. previous developments not finished properly etc.
- Power to vary appropriate period of permissions has been amended. This relates to the duration of planning permissions. Permissions will now generally be 2-5 years in duration, should the Planning Authority consider it appropriate. The Planning Authority must give consideration to the length of time being permitted. Interestingly the legislation specifically states that a residential development permission cannot exceed a 10-year maximum but doesn’t specify any upper limits for any other form of development so longer periods could be sought for other forms of development.
- The provisions allowing for the revocation of planning permissions for security and international relations at cabinet level is now enacted.
- Special rules for legal costs under Section 50 has now been extended to Appropriate Assessment as well as Environmental Impact Assessment
- Taking in charge process of estates must now be initiated within 6 months of being requested
If you have any queries in relation to the implications of any of these new provisions for your projects in or about to enter the planning process, please contact Jimmy Green or Colm Ryan in our Planning Team in our Galway office on 091 735611.