Planning Permission

The Planning process can often be quite long and complicated, listed below are the general processes of each stage of the planning application process.

Submissions to Plans

  • Pre-Draft Stage: General request for views and submissions at the outset of process
  • Draft Plan Stage: Submissions in response to the planning authority’s draft plan. 
  • Material Amendments Stage: Submissions relating to alterations made.
Development Potential Appraisals
  • The first step in assessing a site is a review of all relevant planning policy and objectives, including at the international, national, regional and local levels. A key document will be the Development Plan or    any Local Area Plan.
  • Identify and assess likely development constraints on the site, such as natural and built heritage designations and infrastructure deficiencies or proposals.
  • A visit to the site will highlight the current local conditions and allow consideration of the site’s potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Research into the planning history of the site and local area, as well as an analysis of the planning authority’s attitude to certain types of development.
  • Detailed assessment of relevant development standards and restrictions to establish a likely development yield on site.
  • Consideration of timeframe in achieving planning permission on site, taking account of site conditions, specialist reports, infrastructure requirements and other issues.
Planning Applications
  • The first step in the planning application process requires assessment of the planning authority’s policies, objectives and standards. This should inform the likely success of the application and highlight any potential issues.
  • In addition to the services of an architect, other professional input may be required for certain development proposals, including engineers, archaeologists, ecologists and hydrologists. Environmental and/or Retail Impact Assessment (EIA & RIA) may also be required. These should be identified early and built into the programme.
  • Expertise is required to compile a planning application that is valid.
  • Once lodged, the planning authority may request Further Information, which may require further reports or drawings.
  • The planning authority may grant the application, with conditions, or may refuse it. In either case, professional advice and guidance is beneficial to comply with conditions or prepare an appeal.
Retail Impact Statements
  • The initial step in preparing an RIS is an examination of the relevant Retail Strategy. This Strategy should detail: (1) the quantum of existing floorspace; (2) an assessment of market demand; and (3) an assessment of the need for additional development.
  • A Sequential Test should justify the location of a proposed retail development. The preferred location for retail development is an existing city/town/village centre or an existing designated neighbourhood/district centre. The scale/size of any retail development must be shown to be appropriate for its location.
  • An appropriate catchment area for the proposed development must be established, based on the type and size of retail units proposed and the location of the site within the local retail hierarchy. The current and projected population of this area must be calculated.
  • The available expenditure within the catchment in the design year must be calculated. The quantum of existing retail floorspace within the catchment and the turnover of this must be assessed, as well as the turnover of the proposed development.
  • The trade impact, trade draw and market share of the proposal should be assessed.
  • The RIS must clearly demonstrate that a proposed retail development can be accommodated within the defined catchment area with no detrimental impacts on the existing centres.
Appeals to An Bord Pleanala
  • The first step in the preparation of a first party appeal is a thorough review of all the planning application documentation and the Planning Authority’s decision, including the Planner’s Report and other submissions and observations.
  • A site visit will facilitate a thorough examination of the local natural and built environment. A planning history of the site and surrounding area may identify certain precedents and will help to ascertain the likely success of any appeal.
  • The preparation of a comprehensive first party appeal may often require specialist reports from other experts, such as ecologists, architects, engineers or hydrologists. These must be identified early and collated into the appeal documents for submission to An Bord Pleanála within the statutory 4 week appeal timeframe.
  • Where a third party appeals a decision to grant permission, a strong rebuttal of any arguments and objections may be required in response. This response is made to the Bord and should address third party issues and allay any potential concerns of the Bord.
  • A response to a third party appeal also involves a thorough review of the planning application documentation, including the Planning Authority’s decision and all internal/consultee reports on file. This must also demonstrate compliance with all relevant local policy documents, such as a development plan/local area plan and national guidance, e.g. Retail Planning Guidelines.
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