What is planning permission?
Planning permission is how you ask your local authority to agree to your proposed building work. It can be approved or refused by the local authority. The planning permission process is used to stop inappropriate building and developments and approve those that are suitable.
When do I need planning permission?
You will need planning permission if you are going to build a house. You may need planning permission if you want to build an extension or make other changes to your existing house. Some small extensions and conservatories do not need planning permission. You should always check this with your local authority before you start any building.
You will also need planning permission if you want to significantly change how you use your land or buildings. For example, you will need planning permission to open a crèche on your property and you may need it if you are renting your property for short-term lets. There are some exceptions to this, for example, you do not need planning permission to change certain vacant commercial properties (including pubs) into homes. These exceptions are set out in the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 to 2021.
You may also need planning permission for a modular home or building. This depends on a number of factors such as how big it is, where it will be situated and what it will be used for. A modular home is a home that is built off-site and then delivered and finished at the planned location. These homes are often known as rapid build homes as they are quicker to build. The Government is building rapid build homes in certain locations for families fleeing the war in Ukraine. Planning permission is not needed for this rapid build housing programme, but the Government must take environmental issues into account when choosing locations.
Your local authority can advise if you will need planning permission and give you general advice about your application. Your local authority will also be able to tell you whether your proposals are likely to comply with the development plan for your area.
What happens if I need planning permission but don’t apply for it or get it?
It is an offence to do work that requires planning permission, without having planning permission. This offence can carry very large fines and possible imprisonment. However, if a genuine mistake has been made, it is possible to apply for planning permission to retain an unauthorised development. This permission can be refused, in which case, the unauthorised development will have to be demolished.
Types of planning permission
There are 2 types of planning permission:
- Outline permission
The most common type of planning permission is permission, which is sometimes called full permission. This is where the local authority agrees to your work. Permission is normally subject to conditions, some of which may require changes to your proposals. Planning permission normally lasts for 5 years.
Outline permission is where you apply to see if the local authority agrees in principle with you building a house or large extension. When applying for outline permission, you only need certain plans and details about your proposal. You need to produce enough for the planning authority to make a decision about the siting, layout or other proposals for development. Generally, outline permission last for 3 years. If you get outline permission, you will then have to submit detailed drawings and get consequent permission before you start building work.
You must not start building before you get planning permission.
How much does it cost to apply for planning permission?
You have to pay a fee with your planning application. Different fees apply to different types of development. For example, the current fee for an application to build a house is €65. The fee for a house extension or the conversion of a garage for use as part of a house is €34.
Before you apply for planning permission
Before applying for planning permission you must give public notice of your proposals. You do this by:
- Putting a notice in a local newspaper (your local authority will have a list), and
- Putting up a site notice that can be clearly seen and read
You will find details of information that must be contained in the notices in the planning application form. Your planning application must be received by the local authority within 2 weeks of the notice appearing in the local newspaper and the site notice going up.
The site notice must remain in place for at least 5 weeks from the date of receipt of the planning application. (Note, nine days over Christmas, from 24 December to 1 January, are not taken into account when calculating the 5-week period).
How to apply for planning permission
You apply for planning permission by filling in a planning application form and submitting it together with required documents to your local authority.
Contact your local authority for advice about how to apply, whether your proposals are likely to comply with the development plan, what other documents you will need, what the fee will be and any other requirements. Information, application form and a checklist are available from your local authority.
What happens after I submit my application?
Anyone can make a written submission or observation objecting to or supporting your planning application. It costs €20 to make a submission. Generally, the local planning authority must make a decision on a planning application within 8 weeks of receiving the application, but if the local authority needs more information, or the decision is appealed, it may take much longer. The decision will be notified in writing to you and anyone who commented on your application.
If my application is accepted
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 be granted planning permission from the local authority.
If my application is refused
If the local authority refuses your application, it will give you the reasons for this. You have 4 weeks from the date of this decision to make an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.