Archive for the ‘Advice on Preparing Planning Applications in Kildare’ Category

Extension of Duration of Planning Permission

February 19, 2014

I have been asked to comment on applications for extension of the life of a planning application, or to give it its formal title, extension of duration of the appropriate period.

Many people seem to be under the impression that this is a straight forward procedure whereby you simply fill out the application form, plea your case in terms of economic conditions, pay your €62 and the Council will rubber stamp the extension for another 5 years.

In fact the process is far more complicated than this and a positive result is certainly not guaranteed. Effectively the process involves a comparison of guidelines, policies and objectives between when the permission was granted and those in place now. If effect the applicant needs to:

– demonstrate that there have been no significant changes in the development objectives in the development plan or in regional development objectives in the regional planning guidelines since the date of the permission

– demonstrate that there have been no guidelines issued by the Minister after the date of the grant of permission that the development would contradict,

– establish if an environmental impact assessment, or an appropriate assessment, or both of those assessments, if required, was or were carried out before the permission was granted.

Simply filling out the relevant form means that the planners will make a decision based on their own interpretation of the facts. I would strongly advise that a planning consultant is brought in order to review the situation. It is imperative that a review of the guidelines, policies etc at the time of the decision is carried out and a review of the current guidelines, policies etc also carried out. Has there been any significant changes to development plan objectives? Have there been any changes in terms of national planning guidelines? Is the development likely to impact on a NATURA 2000 site.

From experience one of the main issues which arises is planning applications which have been granted in areas that are now within floodplains. This needs to be checked before any application is lodged to see what can be done. The application cannot be changed or altered but maybe a floor risk assessment might address the issue.

The amount of time for further information is limited to only 4 weeks so it is advised to be properly prepared before lodging rather than scrambling to get information together within such a tight timeframe.

One of the other big issues is to what level of detail do the planners go to in terms of undertaking a comparison of guidelines, policies etc. There are examples of relatively minor changes to objectives which have resulted in refusals of extensions which seems quite harsh. Other Councils tend to be more relaxed in their approach.

The key advice however is to be very careful in dealing with such applications and to ensure that the homework is done to identify any potential problems before applying.

I have also recently been involved in an extension of duration application that was refused but we advised to reapply under the basis of substantial development (following a burst of development) and the application was successful the second time around. The legislation and case law around what constitutes substantial is very interesting but that is another days work.

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Applications for Extension of Planning Permission now being Accepted in Kildare County Council

December 5, 2010

Under the new Planning and Development Act, 2010 provision has been made for applicants with an existing planning permission to extend that permission by up to 5 years (from the date the permission was due to expire).  New forms are available on the Kildare County Council website under the planning section in order to make an application. 

A lay person reading the application form however is likely to find it difficult to understand without a good knowledge of the Planning and Development Act 2010.  There are a number of criteria which must be satisfied before an application for extension will be considered favourably by the Council.  There has been some media comment about the need to demonstrate that there have been economic circumstances beyond the applicants control.  However it is important to realise that the applicant is also expected to demonstrate that no new planning policies or guidelines have been introduced which impact on the planning as granted and to establish if an Environmental Impact Assessment or Appropriate Assessment was required.  It is strongly advisable that you engage a qualified planning consultant in order to present your case in the best light to the planners, particulalry given the fact that failure to secure an extension will mean your planning permission lapsing. 

Applicants in Kildare should be aware that the new County Development Plan is due to be adopted in April 2011 and this will mean new policies being introduced.  It would therefore be important to consider if you should apply for an extension under the current Development Plan.

Can an objection or appeal be withdrawn?

January 6, 2010

An question which arises from time to time is whether an objection to a proposed development can be withdrawn?  There is no provision to withdraw an objection to a planning application under the current planning legislation.  It is the stated practice of Kildare County Council not to allow the withdrawl of objections.

The situation is very different in relation to the withdrawl of an appeal. An appeal can be withdrawn by an appellant at any time prior to the determination of the case by An Board Pleanala. Where an appeal is withdrawn (or all the appeals where there is more than one), the original decision of the planning authority takes effect. To withdraw an appeal the Board must receive written confirmation of the intention to withdraw.

Getting around the ‘locals only’ restrictions on one-off housing: replacement dwellings and refurbishment

December 10, 2009

How often have you heard the advice that buying a site with an existing dwelling structure will get you around the ‘locals only’ rule? It’s not as straightforward as it might seem.

Kildare County Council

Replacement Dwelling:

Kildare County Council do not require an applicant to comply with the local need criteria for replacement dwellings.  However, the criteria required by the Council in order for an applicant to be considered for a replacement dwelling are stringent.  There are 3 criteria which must be met in relation to the dwelling to be replaced.

(a)  The structure must last have been used as a dwelling and the internal and external  walls and roof must be intact.

(b) A report from a suitably qualified competent person shall be submitted to verify that the dwelling is habitable but that replacement of the dwelling is the most sustainable option.

(c)  Documentary evidence of the most recent date of occupation should be submitted with the application.

The applicant must then satisfactorily demonstrate that the scale, character and design of the proposed replacement house shall be appropriate to the character of the area and existing development in the vicinity. Also, be prepared to accept a condition to demolish the existing dwelling.  Normal planning considerations i.e. drainage, traffic etc will also be taken into consideration.

Refurbishment of Existing Dwellings:

The Council promotes the reuse and sensitive restoration of existing dwellings provided that such dwellings are habitable. The scale, character and design of the refurbishment must be appropriate to the character of the area and existing development in the vicinity. The applicants or proposed occupants will not be required to comply with local need criteria.

The definition of a “habitable dwelling” is provided in Section 2 (Interpretation) of the Planning & Development Act 2000.  A “Habitable House” means a house which (a) is used as a dwelling; (b) is not in use but when last used was used, disregarding any unauthorised use, as a dwelling and is not derelict, or (c) was provided for use as a dwelling but has not been occupied.

Derelict Dwellings:

Where a dwelling house is derelict, it is the policy of the Council to encourage its sensitive replacement as an alternative to the construction of a one-off dwelling elsewhere in the rural countryside. However the proposed occupant shall comply with the rural housing policy for local need and shall use the dwelling for their own occupation and not for resale.

Derelict Dwelling

Normal planning considerations will apply in the case of any application for a replacement dwelling (habitable or derelict) or refurbishment of an existing dwelling i.e. visual impact, traffic arrangements, foul drainage arrangements etc.

Please refer to Chapter 6 of the Kildare County Development Plan 2005 – 2011 for the exact wording of the relevant policies which need to be consulted.