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Development Plans


In Ireland, development plans are the blueprint for the planning and development of your local area. Each plan sets out the overall planning policies of your local authority for a 6-year period. It consists of a written statement and a series of maps. Work on putting together a new development plan for your area must begin 4 years after the date of the last plan.

As a blueprint for planning and development of your area, the development plan sets out your local authority's objectives for the use of particular areas where you live (i.e., residential areas, industrial areas, agricultural areas, etc.). It also sets out your local authority objectives for development in the area, road improvements, renewal of obsolete areas and for improving amenities. It's very important therefore that citizens participate and make submissions to the development plan for their area.

When a new development plan is being prepared, you can become involved at the inital stage when your local authority publishes its intention to review the plan. You will see notices about this intention in your local or national newspaper, or you might hear an announcement on local radio. You can also participate at the draft plan stage and if applicable, you can also participate at the amended draft plan stage. At all of these times, you can make observations, submissions and suggestions (within specified timeframes) about what your local authority is proposing.

When the notice is published that your local authority intends to make a new draft plan, the plan will be on public display for at least 10 weeks during which time, you can make submissions. All submissions that are made within the specified period must be considered before the final plan is adopted. Before the final plan has been adopted, various statutory agencies, voluntary and community organisations in your area are consulted and asked to give any specialist advice and observations.

All planning applications in your area are measured against the development plan, and planning permission will normally only be given where the application is in accordance with the plan. This is one of the reasons why it is important for citizens to be aware of their development plan and any restrictions that it may contain.

For example the plan will contain various areas zoned "residential' or "industrial'. This indicates that developments of the appropriate type may get planning permission.

If you are proposing to apply for planning permission, especially if you want to build a house, it would be very sensible to look at the development plan first.

National Spatial Strategy

Regional guidelines and development plans in Ireland must take into account the National Spatial Strategy. The National Spatial Strategy is a national planning framework for Ireland from 2002-2020. The key to the strategy is the balanced regional development. It is intended that the Strategy will guide 'future infrastructural, industrial, residential and rural development in Ireland while providing protection for our cultural, natural and environmental heritage'.

The National Strategy also takes account of the European Spatial Development Perspective (pdf), agreed in 1999 by the 25 EU member States. You can view the full text of the National Spatial Strategy (pdf) here. Further information about implementing the Spatial Strategy (pdf) is available here.

Where To Apply

Spatial Strategy Unit

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Customs House
Dublin 1

Opening Hours:
Tel:+Ireland (0)353 1 EXT:8882888 or +CATEGORY3
Locall:1890 EXT:202021

Page edited: 29 September 2008



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Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.