Planning Application Process

What is the Planning Application Process?

All development, unless it is expressly exempted development, requires planning permission. This, in turn, requires the making of a planning application to the relevant Planning Authority, usually a town, city or county council. The Planning Application Process is set out in the Planning and Development Act 2000 and related Regulations. These provide a statutory procedure for the lodgement and assessment of all planning applications. Whilst these legislative provisions generally dictate the process from the point of making a planning application, the overall application process starts well before this stage, involving the preparation of drawings and documents to support the application. This can be a complex process, particularly for significant development proposals or those in sensitive locations. The team working on a planning application can include architects, engineers, ecologists and conservation experts, as well as planning consultants. The entire process benefits significantly from expert project management to co-ordinate all the necessary inputs to ensure that the application is comprehensive and that an agreed programme is met.

What are the Requirements of a Planning Application?

The requirements of a planning application can be complex and wide-ranging. A planning application must include certain documentation in order for it to be valid and accepted into the planning application process. This includes detailed maps and drawings, a completed application form, newspaper and site notices and the application fee. Many applications also require specialist reports and supporting information, such as ecology or archaeology assessments, retail and traffic impact assessments, engineering details and landscaping details. It is important to ensure that a planning application meets the necessary statutory requirements and that adequate detail is submitted to enable a decision to be made. In addition, in order to maximise the chance of a favourable outcome, the application should be carefully and comprehensively presented, using supporting information and justification where necessary.

What are the Stages of the Planning Application Process?

The planning application process can be lengthy and demanding. The stages normally include pre-planning consultation with the planning authority and other bodies; preparation and lodgement of the planning application; Response to Further Information requests; Appeals to An Bord Pleanála, and Compliance with Conditions. A decision on a planning application should normally issue from the Planning Authority within 8 weeks of making the application, although this decision can often be delayed by a request for further information. Even once a decision has been made by the Planning Authority, this can be appealed to An Bord Pleanala by other parties or the applicant.

What is the Benefit of Using a Planning Consultant?

In order to improve the chances of a grant of planning permission, the person making a planning application requires an in depth knowledge of planning legislation and regulations, as well as the requirements of individual planning authorities and other bodies. This includes a comprehensive knowledge of the Development Plan policies and standards and an ability to highlight potential areas of concern or opportunity. In addition, a clear understanding of the statutory process is needed, as well as experience in dealing with Planning Authorities, statutory bodies and, indeed, other members of the project team. Experienced planning consultants are ideally placed to perform this role.
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