All forms of development activity such as building construction, advertising signage or a material change of use require planning permission in advance of such works being carried out unless specifically deemed to be exempted development, i.e. that it does not require planning permission. These matters are governed by the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) and the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (as amended)
For certain development you will need planning permission e.g. house building, whilst for other development you may need planning permission, e.g. domestic extensions / outbuildings.
The Department of Environment, Communities and Local Government published a series of guidance leaflets in 2002, which give an overview of the planning system. The series has not been updated subsequently and is not entirely accurate as a result of more recent legislative and regulatory changes so you would be advised to verify specific details with the planning authority in the event that you wish to rely on this information for some purpose, however, they continue to be a very useful source of reference for general information.
Planning Guidance Leaflet series: Leaflets on the planning system are available in PDF format below.
Pre-planning consultations are facilitated to advise you whether or not planning permission is required and to tell you how to apply as well as giving you general advice about your application. The Area Planner will also be able to tell you whether your proposals are likely to comply with the Development Plan for your area - see Development Plans.
There are four types of planning permission: permission, outline permission, permission consequent on outline permission and retention permission. The most common type is permission, sometimes called full permission.
There are circumstances when you may want to make an application for outline permission, such as when you want to see whether the planning authority agrees with your proposal in principle before you go to the trouble of making detailed plans. If you obtain outline permission, you must obtain a subsequent permission before starting work. In most cases, a subsequent application for permission consequent on outline permission must be made within three years of the date of grant of outline permission. However, outline permission cannot be sought for retention of a structure, works to a protected structure or a proposed protected structure or developments requiring an environmental impact assessment, N.I.S. (Natura Impact Statement), integrated pollution control licence or waste licence.
It is an offence to carry out any work that requires planning permission, without planning permission, and the offence can carry very heavy fines and imprisonment. However, if a genuine mistake has been made, it is possible to apply for retention permission to retain an unauthorised development.
However, this approach should not be relied upon to avoid seeking planning permission before starting work, as you may not necessarily be granted permission for retention or you may be required to carry out costly modifications.
The application fee for retention is also three times the fee for an application made before development starts. Permission for retention does not automatically absolve you from prosecution if enforcement action has already been taken against you. If you are buying property, check that the building itself and any extensions or alterations to it have proper planning permission or are exempt from planning permission. You, as the new owner, may be liable to enforcement action.
Generally, the planning authority must make a decision on a planning application within 8 weeks of receiving the application, but if the planning authority needs more information, or the decision is appealed, it may take much longer.
Planning applications are available for inspection by members of the public at the Planning Office and online. Any third party on payment of a fee of €20, can make a written submission / observation on individual applications during the initial five week period after it has been submitted to the planning authority. The decision on planning applications will be notified to the applicant and anyone who commented in writing on it.
If the local authority decides to give you planning permission, you will get a notice of intention to grant planning permission. If no one appeals the decision to An Bord Pleanála within 4 weeks of the date of this decision, you will get grant of permission from the local authority.
You apply for planning permission by filling in a planning application form and submitting it together with required notices, maps, plans, drawings and supporting documents, along with the appropriate fee to the planning authority. For more details see A Guide to Making A Planning Application.
You have to pay a fee with your application. Different fees apply to different types of development. The current fee for an application to build a house is €65. The fee for a house extension or the conversion of a garage, etc., for use as part of a house is €34. Please see Planning Fees section for more information on fees
You must give public notice of your proposals before making an application. This must be done by placing a notice in a locally circulating newspaper (list of approved newspapers) and putting up a site notice that can be clearly read. You will find more detailed information that must be contained in the notices in Making a Planning Application.
The application must be received by the planning authority within 2 weeks of the notice appearing in the local newspaper and the erection of the site notice. The site notice must remain in place for at least 5 weeks from the date of receipt of the planning application.
You must not start building before you receive the grant of permission.
Normally, planning permission is subject to conditions, some of which may require changes to your proposals.
Planning permission normally lasts for five years. You may be required to make a financial contribution towards the construction of any road, water supply or sewerage that may be necessary.
If the local planning authority refuses your application, it will give you the reasons for this. You have 4 weeks from the date of this decision to appeal to An Bord Pleanála.