Planning Permission: Exemptions
Planning permission exemptions are generally based around various well defined aspects of a property such as its total volume or height. If these thresholds are exceeded, e.g. building an extension on a house that exceeds a certain height, then planning permission must be applied for. The idea behind exemption is that development on a relatively simple scale should not be hindered by excessive or non-essential regulations.
Examples of structures that can built within the immediate area of land connected with the house, e.g. front or back garden include a greenhouse, garage or sheds. No exemption from planning permission can be granted for structures built forward of the front wall of the house.
Developers must also ensure that exempted developments do not exceed 25 square meters in area and that the amount of private open space remaining after the erection of an exempted structure is not less than 25 square meters.
The exempted status does not cover the construction of building with the purpose of permanent occupation by either people or domestic animals.
The height of exempted buildings should not exceed 3 meters, unless the new building has a tiled or slated pitched roof in which case the developer is allowed to build to a height of 4 meters.
The external appearance of the new extension should, as far as practically possible, match that of the existing structure. So for example, the roof of a new garage should blend with the roof of the house.
Obtaining planning permission for proposed non exempt developments is vital if you want to sell your house. Local planning authority have the legal right to force a developer to cease any work on any development that commenced without the appropriate planning permission.
Although many developers may assume that retention planning permission will be granted, especially for smaller developments, this is by no means a foregone conclusion.
The local planning authority may look sympathetically on genuine oversights during the building process and may grant retention planning permission. However, developers should remember that the fee for retention planning permission is usually three times the fee charged for a new development.
In addition, the final grant of retention planning permission may involve conditions imposed by the local planning authority, such as alteration or modification of work already completed on the development. So although the developer may obtain retention planning permission, it may prove costly in terms of the work needed to alter the development to obtain it.
Factors to consider when commencing exempt development.
Contact local gas, electricity and cable companies if you believe that the proposed development will impact on their pipelines, overhead lines or cables. By law, developers must ensure that the electricity supply company be informed if overhead lines are within 25 meters of proposed construction works and also that water pipelines or sewers are not affected by work carried out on developer's property.
Developer's should also consider making their neighbours aware of the work they intend to carry out on their property. Also bear in mind that some alterations to property may reduce the security of the property against burglary and theft. Keeping your neighbours informed will more likely than not be in your own best interests.
Your builder may need access through your neighbours property to work on your house. Keeping on good terms with your neighbours is a vital part of the development process for both exempt and non-exempt development work.
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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