How to appeal a planning permission decision
What is a planning appeal?
If your local authority (planning authority) accepts your application for planning permission, it will review your application and any submissions or observations on it and make a decision.
When the local authority makes a decision, anyone involved in the application can appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.
This is called a planning appeal and it must be made within 4 weeks of the date of the local authority’s decision.
Who can appeal or make an observation on a planning permission decision?
You can appeal a decision to An Bord Pleanála if you:
- Are the person who applied to the planning authority for planning permission. This is called a first-party appeal.
- Made a submission or observation to the planning authority about the proposed development at an earlier stage. This is called a third-party appeal. You need to have a copy of the acknowledgment document you received from the local authority when you made the initial submission or observation.
Other organisations or people who can appeal a decision
Some organisations and people can appeal someone else’s planning decision, even if they have not made submissions or observations at the planning authority stage. They can only do this in certain circumstances. These include:
- Organisations listed in the Planning and Development Regulations that should have been notified about a planning application but were not informed of the application
- Organisations that promote environmental protection, if an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) was not submitted with a planning application when it had to have one
- Anyone who has an interest in the land which borders the site where planning permission has been granted. In this situation you apply to the Board for leave to appeal the decision.
Leave to appeal
You must apply to the Board for leave to appeal a planning decision, if you have an interest in land which borders the site where planning permission has been granted and you haven’t made a submission or observation at the planning authority stage. You must meet these strict conditions to be granted leave to appeal by the Board:
- You did not make a submission on the application
- The permission conditions attached to granting the application now impact land which you have an interest in
- Your land is beside the proposed development site
If the Board grants you ‘leave to appeal’, you must make your appeal within 2 weeks of receiving notification of this. An Bord Pleanála have more information about applying for leave to appeal on their website.
Can I make an observation on an appeal?
If a valid appeal has already been made by either the applicant or a third party, any other person can become an observer and make observations on the appeal.
What can I appeal?
You can appeal different aspects of a planning decision. What you can appeal depends on if you are the person who applied for the planning permission (first party), or if you are someone who made a submission to the planning authority on the application (third party).
|Type of appeal||What can you appeal?|
|First party (you applied for planning permission)||
- The planning authority's decision to refuse planning permission
- The conditions the planning authority has added, when they grant you permission
- How the planning authority applies the terms of a Development Contribution Scheme or a Supplementary Development Contribution Scheme to the conditions of granting you permission. How the authority has applied a special contribution condition. An Bord Pleanála have more information about this on their website.
|Third party (you made a submission to the planning authority about the proposed development)||
- The planning authority's decision
- Any of the conditions the authority attaches when they grant permission
How do I make an appeal?
You must make your appeal in writing. You can fill in a Planning Appeal Form (pdf), or you can write to An Bord Pleanála. Your appeal can then be posted to An Bord Pleanála or delivered in person. You cannot make an appeal online.
There are rules about how long you have to appeal a planning decision and what you need to include in your appeal.
How long do I have to make a planning appeal?
You must make the planning appeal to An Bord Pleanála within 4 weeks of the date the decision was made by the planning authority.
If you’ve been granted leave to appeal a planning application, you must make your appeal within 2 weeks of receiving notification of this decision.
Some other types of appeals may have different rules and timeframes for appealing. You can find out more about the rules for other types of appeals on pleanala.ie or by contacting An Bord Pleanála.
What should I include in my appeal?
Your appeal must include:
- Your name and address
- The name and address of a planning agent, if you are using one
- Details about the planning application so An Bord Pleanála can identify the right application. For example:
- A copy of the planning authority decision
- The name of the planning authority and the planning register reference number
- Your grounds for appealing and any supporting material and arguments. These must relate to planning issues only. The Board cannot take other issues into consideration.
- The correct fee
- The acknowledgement from the planning authority that confirms you made a submission or observations on the application, if you are a third-party applicant. This can be a copy of the acknowledgement.
If you do not submit all the documentation or you have not met all the criteria for an appeal, your appeal will be considered invalid and will not be considered by An Bord Pleanála.
What if my appeal is invalid?
If your appeal is invalid, An Bord Pleanála will post it back to you and refund you. If you want, you can re-submit your appeal once you have amended it.
You cannot give the Board additional information after you have made your appeal, unless the Board requests this.
Can my appeal be dismissed?
An Bord Pleanála can dismiss an appeal in certain circumstances. For example, if they believe the appeal was:
- Only meant to annoy or disturb
- Not serious
- Without any real substance
- Made to delay the development
- Made for a profit (such as money or gifts)
- Made by someone who can’t be identified
Can I withdraw my appeal?
You can withdraw your appeal before the decision is made. To do this, you must write to An Bord Pleanála. You will not be refunded if you withdraw your appeal.
How does An Bord Pleanála decide an appeal?
An inspector will assess your appeal and the documents you submitted. They will normally visit the site in question and take photographs for their report. The inspector will then write their report and recommendations for the Board. Once this is submitted, the Board will make a decision.
Applicants, appellants or the planning authority involved in the appeal can request an oral hearing on a planning appeal. (Appellants are the people or groups making the appeal).
An oral hearing is a public meeting where issues in a case can be discussed and examined. They are normally held if An Bord Pleanála thinks it would be helpful to understand a particularly complex case.
An Bord Pleanála decides whether to hold an oral hearing. Generally, an oral hearing is only held for:
- Strategic infrastructure cases
- Appeals cases that are complex, or where there are significant national, regional or local issues
- Compulsory purchase orders and related cases
Oral hearings are usually quite informal and can sometimes take place online. Anyone can attend an oral hearing. However, only people involved in the case can take part in the discussion.
How do I request an oral hearing?
You can request an oral hearing on the planning appeal form or by writing to An Bord Pleanála.
You must make the request within 4 weeks of the date the planning authority made the decision.
It costs €50 to request an oral hearing and this fee in non-refundable.
An Bord Pleanála will review your request and decide whether to have an oral hearing. The Board's decision on an oral hearing request is final.
What happens to my planning appeal next?
An Bord Pleanála aims to make a decision within 18 weeks. However, if this is not possible, they will write to everyone involved to update them.
In general, An Bord Pleanála will either:
- Grant planning permission
- Grant planning permission with conditions, or amended conditions, or
- Refuse planning permission
Once a decision is reached in a planning appeal, An Bord Pleanála will send you a letter with the decision.
The Board will not discuss the pros and cons of the decision. All decisions are final and can only be challenged by judicial review in the High Court on a point of law.
In these situations, the High Court will judge if the Board followed due process in reaching its decision, but will not look at the planning merits of an appeal.
Anyone can inspect the case file after the appeal has been decided. Case details can be read online at pleanala.ie, including the:
- Inspector's report
- Board direction
- Board order
The full case file can be viewed at the Board's offices for 5 years after the appeal decision. An Bord Pleanála has more information on this in its page Viewing a decided case file: Public Access.
How much does it cost to make an appeal?
You will be charged a fee if you wish to make an appeal to An Bord Pleanála. The fee for making an appeal depends on the type of case and the relevant legislation.