Planning Permission and Professional Advice
Planning permission is required for a large variety of changes of use of land, ranging from the obvious, e.g. building a house on a new site, through less common change of uses, such as the replacement of broad leaf high forest by conifer species or the use of uncultivated land for intensive agricultural purposes or peat extraction.
To increase your chances of being granted planning permission in the shortest possible timeframe, you should strongly consider having pre-planning discussions with your local planning authority. These meetings can often save an applicant a lot of time and money that would otherwise be spent in having to resubmit, and possibly re-resubmit, improperly completed planning application forms.
Before requesting a pre-planning meeting, you need to have the following documents:
A site location map that clearly outlines the site for which planning permission is being sought.
The exact address and details of the area contained within the site.
Details of the ownership of the site for which planning permission is being sought.
Description of the proposed development
A full description of the proposed development.
Although you can submit the planning application directly to your local planning authority, if you have no previous experience of the planning process, you should strongly consider employing the professional services of a planning agent or architectural firm, especially if the proposed development is anything other than a very straightforward change of usage.
The local planning authority will expect detailed descriptions, plans, drawings, scale maps and test hole percolation tests etc. There are many reasons that may cause your local authority to deem your planning application invalid and the more prepared you are to answer their questions, the better.
A good planning agent will know exactly how to complete the application form so as to maximise the chances of obtaining planning permission as quickly as possible. A planning agent can take responsibility for all aspects of the planning application process. Before choosing an agent, you should ensure that the agent is up to date with all current planning regulations. Ask for references from previous applicants.
When agreeing a fee with the agent, you should ensure that the fee is paid only when the local planning authority acknowledges in writing that they consider your planning application a valid one.
Another option with planning permission applications, is for the applicant to have an architect compile the plans and drawings relevant to the proposed development and then for the applicant themselves to submit the application form. If the plans and drawings are sufficiently detailed, this may be the basis for a successful application.
The website of the various local planning authorities should contain a list of the fees applicable for the many varied types of planning permission.
This article is intended as a general, basic guide to planning process of local authorities in Ireland. For more specific details and the latest regulations concerning planning, please consult the website of your local authority.
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