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Dan Keane: The steps you have to go through to get your planning permission

Over the last couple of weeks we have looked at the pre-planning process in relation to the pre-planning meetings, percolation and ensuring that your budget is correct.

This week we are going to take a quick glance at the requirements that Laois County Council require for submission of a planning application and also the time scales involved.

Your public notice is submitted to a publication that is on the Laois County Council check list. These publications can range from your local papers to national media. Once the ad is placed in the paper the date of that publication you have two weeks to submit your formal to Laois County Council for planning permission.

Your planning notice has to have statutory wording and this is included with a description of the development, the exact townland of the development and location. Second public Notice is your site notice that is erected on site, again this must be 100% identical to the public notice placed in the newspaper.

This must be erected on the date of submission of the planning application. To get your planning permission validated six copies of all drawings must be submitted. This includes six copies of Site Layout Plan, Site Location Map, Plans, Sections, Elevations and any other drawings. Again, with these drawing there is certain criteria that the Council require.

North signs, elevation heights, overall dimensions on the plans. Going into too much detail on a planning application submission drawings in my opinion is unnecessary and premature. If the Council require a change on the plans these will become obsolete and you will have to go back to back into the same level of detail again on a new set.

Once your six copies of drawings are done your application form, your list of documents required and a cover letter is also to be submitted. With one-off housing, it is important to build your story with the Council, they require local need documentation these include Birth Certificates, membership of local clubs and societies and a letter of justification.

In your letter of justification while most people find these difficult to write it is important to give the Council a clear indication on why you need to live in that location; if it is family land, if you are from the area, born and reared in the area, your first house etc.

Once the Council have a clear picture of your requirement and the story all adds up with all the other information well then it leaves the Council in a stronger position to give a favourable decision. Your agent then will submit your full planning permission to Laois County Council where it will go through the validation process.

This process can often take 2-3 days depending on the authority and how busy they are. Sometimes the agent may receive a phone-call that there might be slight discrepancies on the drawings. These slight amendments can be adjusted and the agent can drop across additional information to the Council at this point. Issues regarding site notices and public notices, the file is deemed automatically invalid and returned to the agent.

Once the file is validated the permission clock now starts. This takes eight weeks from the date of submission before the Local Authority will respond the planning file. The first five weeks the file is open to the public for submissions and observations. After the fifth week the planner takes control of the file and assesses it on its own basis.

Once the eight weeks are up your planning permission is dealt with via a decision this may be a grant or a refusal or a request for additional information.

If you receive a request for further information (an FI) then once this comes back to your agent he will pull together the necessary documents the Council require in order to further assess the file. Once the further information is re-submitted the Council have an additional five weeks to assess the information provided before they come back with a verdict on the file.

Again, sometimes the Council may request Clarification on the further information. If a clarification is requested it means that the Council are unsatisfied with the answer given at further information stage. Once the clarification is re-submitted; again, the council receive another have another five weeks to further assess this information and at that stage a decision must be made.

If objections are lodged on to the file and a decision to grant the application this gives the objector four weeks to prepare a file if they so require bringing the file to An Bord Pleanala. If for example; on the other hand, the applicant receives a refusal they also have four weeks to appeal the decision of the local authority to An Bord Pleanala and likewise a decision is given to grant and the conditions are onerous the applicant can also appeal those conditions to An Bord Pleanala.

Going to An Bord Pleanala is a tricky business and takes an additional 6 months. For the most part it is important to try and iron out any issues with Laois County Council that is why I would always advocate a strong pre-planning process.

If an objector brings the file to An Bord Pleanala well this is beyond your control however you will get an opportunity to respond to the objector’s complaints. For the most part files do not go down the An Bord Pleanala route however, if they do the process can be costly both on you and on the objector. However, if your planning is granted you will receive notification of a final grant within one month of the decision and once you have your final grant that permission is live for five years.

On another subject this week I visited a dwelling house in Mountmellick in order to carry out an opinion on compliance with Planning Permission, it was an early morning call and I was over at the house at around 9am.

The house is a modest cottage that had been extended several times however, when I entered the cottage the man of the house was sitting having a poached egg in front of an east facing window with the window at table height. The room was no more than 3.5m wise x 4 m however it was such a beautiful setting, very simple and functional. 

SEE ALSO – Dan Keane: This is the worst time of the year to be doing your Percolation Test

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Daniel Keane is an Architectural Technologist based in Portlaoise. Having worked in a number of Architects offices throughout Ireland, in 2005 he open his own practice in Portlaoise. The practice specialises in individual residential design and retrofits, with over 300 bespoke ‘one off’ house designs to date. The goal of the practice is to provide the highest standard of architectural services, both in terms of design and quality of execution on site.