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Planning Section
Offaly County Council
Áras an Chontae
Charleville Road
Tullamore
Co. Offaly

Phone: 057 9357414
Fax: 057 9346868
Email: planning@offalycoco.ie

Introduction

This section deals with general planning issues.  It explains for example when planning permission is required, the different types of permissions, contents of planning applications, likely errors that can be made in planning applications and who an ‘agent’ is. 

When is Planning Permission required?

Development of any land requires planning permission unless the development is specifically exempted from the requirement.  If you are unsure whether the development requires planning permission you should contact a member of Staff at the Planning Office.  The term ‘Development’ means ‘the carrying out of any works on, in, over or under land or the making of any material change in the use of any structure or other land’.

Planning permission is, therefore, required for the following (unless otherwise exempted): -

  1. Development of any land including the erection or changes to any structure on it
  2. Changing the use of any land or structure
  3. Retaining any unauthorised structure
  4. Continuing any unauthorised use of any land or structure.

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What types of Permission are there?

There are 4 types of Permission –

  1. Permission for a Development
  2. Outline Permission for a Development
  3. Permission Consequent on the grant of Outline Permission
  4. Permission for Retention of an Unauthorised Development

1. Permission for a Development – is sought where an applicant wishes to obtain permission.  Full details and plans must be submitted.  Permission lasts 5 years  beginning on the date of the grant of permission, unless the permission states an alternative time period.  Development must be completed inside this time frame.

2. Outline Permission for a Development - is generally sought where an applicant wishes to find out whether planning permission would be granted for a particular development, but may not wish to incur the expense of having detailed plans drawn.   The grant of an Outline Permission means that the Planning Authority agrees, in principle, to the proposed development on a particular site but does not permit the carrying out of any works. As specified in Section 36 (3) (a) of the 2000 Planning and Development Act as amended, ‘where outline permission has been granted by a planning authority, any subsequent application for permission must be made not later than 3 years beginning on the date of the grant of outline permission, or such longer period, not exceeding 5 years, as may be specified by the planning authority.’

An Outline Permission may not be made for:

  • Retention of development
  • Carrying out of works to a Protected Structure or proposed Protected Structure or
  • Development requiring an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence, Waste Licence or Environmental Impact Statement (E.I.S.).
  • Provision of, or modification to, an establishment to which the European Communities (Control of Major Accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances) Regulations 2006. 

3. Permission Consequent on the Grant of an Outline Permission is sought where an Outline Permission has already been granted.  Detailed plans and specifications must be submitted. 

4. Permission for Retention of an Unauthorised Development – is sought where the applicant already has carried out a development without grant of permission and wishes to retain it.  

No planning application, which is the same as a planning application subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanala on the same site, shall be made to the planning authority before (i) the Board has made its decision on the appeal, (ii) the appeal is withdrawn, or (iii) the appeal is dismissed by the Board.

What is Exempted Development?

Exempted development is development for which planning permission is not required. Categories of exemption are set out in planning law.   There are usually certain thresholds relating to, for example, size or height of the proposed development. Where these thresholds are exceeded, the exemptions no longer apply. The purpose of exemption is to avoid controls on developments of a minor nature, such as small extensions to houses. If you have any queries with regard to exemptions, you may refer to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government website www.environ.ie, or consult a Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government leaflet titled ‘Doing Work around the House’ (Copies of which are available from the Planning Section of Offaly County Council).

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What is an ‘Agent’?

Most applicants for planning permission will select an Agent (e.g. Planner, Architect, Engineer, Surveyor etc.) to deal with an application in part or in its entirety.  In choosing an Agent it is important to select someone who is familiar with the planning process, the planning law, the Council’s Development Plans and requirements of the Council regarding public health, traffic safety and design standards.   If you have hired an Agent, all correspondence will be issued to your Agents address thus enabling the Agent to deal with any issues that may arise – unless otherwise indicated by you.   

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Can an Application be Withdrawn?

An applicant may at any time prior to the giving of the decision by the Planning Authority, give notice in writing of his or her intention to withdraw their application.  In such instances, no decision in respect of the application is deemed to have been made.

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Are there statutory time frames?

The Statutory 8 week period for deciding an application begins from the time a valid application is received.  In calculating any time limit, the period between 24th December and 1st January is disregarded. 

If the Planning Authority considers they need further information (f.i) in order to process your application, a request for this information will be made during the eight (8) week period.  A response to the request must be made within six (6) months. If the request for f.i. or clarification of f.i. is not complied with fully, the planning application shall be declared to be withdrawn after the expiry of 6 months from the date of the requirement for f.i has elapsed.  However this 6-month submission period may be extended by up to 3 months if agreed by the planning authority (intended for applications accompanied by an E.I.S.)

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Can a Third Party Submission / Observation be made?

Any person or body, on payment of a fee of €20, may make a submission or observation in writing to the planning authority in relation to a planning application within the period of 5 weeks beginning on the date of receipt by the authority of the application.  Such observations / submissions will be taken into consideration by the planning authority when making a decision on the planning application. Download Observation/Submission form here.

Please Note: Your submission(s) will be made public and could be placed on the Planning Authority’s website. You should therefore be careful not to include excessive or superfluous personal information about yourself or others.

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Can I consult with the Area Planner before lodging my application?

Section 247 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 details that a person intending to make a planning application may enter into consultation with the Planning Authority in order to discuss a proposed development. 

The role of the planning officer in planning consultations is to inform of procedures, relevant policies, objectives and legislation only.  Any advice is given in good faith and without prejudice to the formal consideration of any subsequent planning application.   Formal consideration of a planning application when lodged to the Planning Authority will be more extensive having full regard to legal issues, technical reports, third party submissions and other details that require consideration.  No indication will be given at planning consultation stage of the outcome of any application as it lies outside the remit of the planning official’s authority.

Generally a lot of pre-planning queries can be dealt with over the telephone.  The planning authority encourages consultations over the telephone as it ensures a speedier delivery of service.  You may ring Offaly County Council on 057-9346800 for a consultation.

To assist the consultation process, the following documentation could be provided for planning consultations, if required:

-An outline of the site in red and the landholding in blue on a location map to a scale of not less than 1:1000 in built up areas and 1:2500 in all other areas, or such other scale as may be agreed with the planning authority before the meeting.

-Photographs of the site

-Site Layout map showing existing buildings, roads, boundaries, septic tanks, percolation area, wells and other features on, adjoining or in the vicinity of the land or structure.

-Rough design of the proposed development.

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What is the Content of Planning Applications Generally?

A planning application consists of a number of elements ranging from the application form to drawings and public notices, all of which are required in order to compile a valid application.

The list below acts as a checklist to aid in submitting a valid planning application:

 Fully completed application form(a copy of which is included in this Planning Information Pack).

   The relevant page of the newspaper, or a copy of the relevant page, including the date and title of the newspaper.

       Copy of a Site Notice.

       6 copies of a Site Location map of sufficient size and containing details and features in the vicinity to a scale (which shall be identified thereon) of not less than 1:1000 in built up areas and 1:2500 in all other areas, or such other scale as may be agreed with the planning authority prior to the submission of the application and shall be marked so as to identify clearly: (i) the land or structure to which the application relates and the boundaries thereof, in red, (ii) any land which adjoins, abuts or is adjacent to the land to be developed and which is under the control of the applicant or person who owns the land which is the subject of the application in blue, (iii) any wayleaves in yellow, and (iv) the position of the site notice or notices erected or fixed to the land or structure.

       Where it is proposed to dispose of wastewater from the proposed development other than to a public sewer, information on the on-site treatment system proposed and evidence as to the suitability of the site for the system proposed.

       6 copies of Plans (including a site or layout plan and drawings of floor plans, elevations and sections) and such other particulars as are necessary to describe the works to which the application relates.

       With regard to material change of uses of land or structures, (i) a statement of the existing use and of the use proposed, together with particulars of the nature and extent of any such proposed use, (ii) 6 copies of plans (including a site or layout plan and drawings of floor plans, elevations and sections) and such other particulars as are necessary to describe the works to which the application relates and (iii) Plans (including a site or layout plan and drawings of floor plans, elevations and sections) and such other particulars as are necessary to identify the area to which the application relates. 

       Proposal or exemption under Part V of Planning and Development Act 2000 (regarding social and affordable housing) as amended where applicable.

       Where appropriate, a certificate issued by the Planning Authority in accordance with section 97 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended, or if no such certificate has been applied for but not issued, a copy of the certificate of exemption application made.

       Letter of consentfrom owner of the site where the applicant is not the legal owner.

       Planning fee.

Note:  In lodging your planning application, you are encouraged to submit 6 individual copies of the application form, site notice and newspaper notice in conjunction with the items above for which 6 copies are specified and statutorily required.

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What are the Requirements for plans, drawings and maps accompanying a planning application?

 There are a number of requirements for plans, drawings and maps, which accompany your planning application, e.g. scale, outline of boundaries, dimensions, north point, Ordnance number etc.  It may not be necessary for the applicant to understand about this information in detail, as the agent will understand and carry it through in the planning application.

All plans, drawings and maps accompanying a planning application shall comply with the following:

  • The site or layout plans shall be drawn to a scale (which shall be indicated thereon) of not less than 1:500 or such other scale as may be agreed with the planning authority prior to the submission of the application.  The site boundary shall be clearly delineated in red, and buildings, roads, boundaries, septic tanks and percolation areas, bored wells, significant tree stands and other features on, adjoining or in the vicinity of the land or structure to which the application relates shall be shown. 
  • Other plans, elevations and sections shall be drawn to a scale of not less than 1:200 (which shall be indicated thereon), or such other scale as may be agreed with the planning authority prior to the submission of the application in any particular case.
  • The site layout plan and other plans shall show the level or contours, where applicable, of the land and the proposed structures relative to Ordnance Survey datum or a temporary local benchmark, whichever is more appropriate,
  • Drawings of elevations of any proposed structure shall show the main features of any buildings which would be contiguous (i.e. adjoining) to the proposed structure if it were erected, whether on the application site or in the vicinity, at a scale of not less than 1:200, as may be appropriate, and where the development would involve work to a protected structure or proposed protected structure shall show the main features of any buildings within the curtilage (i.e. the parcel of land immediately associated with that structure) of the structure which would be materially affected by the proposed development.
  • Plans relating to works comprising reconstruction, alteration or extension of a structure shall be so marked or coloured as to distinguish between the existing structure and the works proposed.
  • Plans and drawings of floor plans, elevations and sections shall indicate in figures the principal dimensions (including overall height) of any proposed structure and the site, Also, site or layout plans shall indicate the distance of any such structure from the boundaries of the site.
  • Any map or plan which is based on an Ordnance Survey map shall indicate the relevant Ordnance Survey sheet number.
  • The north point shall be indicated on all maps and plans other than drawings of elevations and sections, and maps or plans, which have an Ordnance Survey number on them.

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What are the requirements for a Site Notice?

Within the Planning Information Pack, you will find copies of site notices for each local authority in Offaly, in conjunction with directions for completing same.

An applicant shall within the period of 2 weeks before the making of a planning application, give notice of the intention to make the application by the erection or fixing of a site notice.

The site notice must be left in place for a period of at least 5 weeks from the date of receipt of the planning application and shall be renewed or replaced if it is removed or becomes defaced or illegible within that period. 

A site notice shall be securely erected or fixed in a conspicuous position on or near the main entrance to the land or structure concerned from a public road.  Where there is more than one entrance from public roads, it shall be on or near all such entrances.  It shall be easily visible and legible by persons using the public road.    Where the site does not adjoin a public road, it shall be easily visible and legible by persons outside the land or structure.  Site notices shall not be obscured or concealed at any time.

Please note that where the planning authority receives f.i., evidence, revised plans, drawings or particulars during the course of the application, and it considers that it contains significant additional data, the planning authority shall require the applicant to erect and submit a revised site notice to the Planning Authority.  The time for the planning authority to make a decision does not run until the new newspaper notice and site notice are submitted.  A copy of this type of site notice is also included in the Planning Information Pack.  

Please note that if a planning application is made on a site, which has been the subject of a valid application in the previous 6 months, then the site notice shall have a yellow background.  These yellow site notices are available from the planning authority.

The applicant is required to remove the site notice after notification of the Planning Authority decision. 

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What are the requirements for a Newspaper Notice?

An applicant shall within the period of 2 weeks before the making of a planning application, give notice of the intention to make the application in a newspaper.  The newspaper notice should only be placed in an approved newspaper, a list of which is included below. 

The following list of newspapers are approved in accordance with Article 18 (2) of the Planning and Development Regulations 2006.  Accordingly, advertisements in respect of applications for planning permission must be placed in the approved newspapers for the areas outlined as follows:

Newspaper

Electoral Area

Irish IndependentBirr / Ferbane / Edenderry / Tullamore
Midland TribuneTullamore / Ferbane / Birr
Tullamore TribuneTullamore / Ferbane
Offaly IndependentTullamore / Ferbane
Offaly TopicEdenderry
Leinster/ Offaly ExpressEdenderry / Tullamore

A copy of a sample newspaper notice and directions of how to complete it are included in the Planning Information Pack

Contents of the newspaper notice:

The newspaper notice published shall contain as a heading the name of the planning authority to which the planning application will be made and shall state -

(1)  the name of the applicant

(2)  the location, townland or postal address of the land or structure to which the application relates (as may be appropriate)

(3)  whether the application is for permission for development, permission for retention of development, outline permission for development or permission consequent on the grant of outline permission (stating the reference number on the register of the relevant outline permission)

(4)  a brief description of the nature and extent of the development, including –

  • where the application relates to development consisting of or comprising the provision of houses, the number of houses to be provided,
  • where the application relates to the retention of a structure, the nature of the proposed use of the structure and where appropriate the period for which it is proposed to retain the structure.
  • Where the application relates to development, which would consist of or comprise the carrying out of works to a protected structure or proposed protected structure, an indication of that fact.
  • where the application relates to development which comprises or is for the purposes of an activity requiring an integrated pollution control licence or a waste licence, an indication of that fact, or
  • that the planning application may be inspected or purchased at a fee not exceeding the reasonable cost of making a copy at the office of the planning authority during its public opening hours and that a submission or observation in relation to the application may be made to the authority in writing on payment of the prescribed fee within the period of 5 weeks beginning on the date of receipt by the authority of the application.
  • where the application relates to a development consisting of works, which require an E.I.S., an indication of that fact.  A newspaper notice shall state that an E.I.S. will be submitted to the Planning Authority with the application, and that the E.I.S. will be available for inspection or purchase at a fee not exceeding the reasonable cost of making a copy during public opening hours at the offices of the relevant planning authority.
  • where an application relates to the provision of, or modification of an establishment, an indication of that fact.  ‘Establishment’ means an establishment to which the European Communities (Control of Major Accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances) Regulations 2006 applies. 
  • please note that where the planning authority receives further information, evidence, revised plans, drawings or particulars during the course of the application, and it considers that it contains significant additional data, including information in relation to the effects on the environment, the planning authority shall require the applicant to submit a revised newspaper notice to the Planning Authority.  The notice must specify a period of 2 weeks (5 weeks if it is accompanied with an EIS) for making of submissions.  The time for the planning authority to make a decision does not run until the new newspaper notice and site notice are submitted.

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