10 Apr 2009
A colleague tells me of an application he lodged to have an existing retail space changed from use A to use B. The space – which was, as I said, existing and requiring no physical alteration either inside or out – measured about 15 ft x 12 ft.

But, the comprehensive application was invalidated for, amongst a slew of other things (and remember now, no changes were proposed to the outside of the building in which it was located) not including a contiguous street elevation! And this, in a phase of Irish history when you would imagine planning authorities being delighted at the novelty of applications arriving across their desks?

Okay, so the invalidation clerk (as well as a planner, a senior administrator and a mid ranking administrator all of whom are referred to on the letter of invalidation (I only hope they didn’t meet to collectively decide that the application was invalid)) was only doing what the regulations say he must. But, don’t you think that, if Local Authority planning officials were as dedicated to providing good public service as they say they are, they’d be using their ample downtime to iron out anomalies in the current system? For example, don’t you think that asking for elaborate, time consuming and expensive street elevations for projects which don’t involve any external changes is the kind of thing that a conscientious planner would raise at a monthly departmental meeting with a view to having such a tiresome requirement revoked? And that the matter would then be forwarded to Dublin where the Working Group (it doesn’t exist) would meet to discuss possible nationwide implementatino? And that the necessary clarifications would then be issued by the DoE Liaison Group (it doesn’t exist)? And that the changes were then effectively communicated to applicants? And that a monitoring system would then be put in place to ensure a smooth transition to the new regime?

It is because this kind of thing never happens that the rest of us realise that those who run the planning system are not really serious.

Friday, April 10, 2009 3:16:11 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I agree with what you. I had a submission invalidated for a small balcony that I thought I could do myself because the name of the person who made the drawing was omitted. I ended up having to pay 500 to get someone to make the submission for a 1500 balcony.

On the other hand a local developer had better luck than me. He had a relatively large planning application validated on the day of submission and despite not having a notice at one of the entrances.

I emailed the council immediately I noticed the lack of notice (the developer attempted the same stunt previously for an almost identical application which was refused). The drawings submitted with the file did not show the notice at the proposed entrance.

Miraculously a notice appeared a couple of days later and a week later the council replied to say that there was in fact a notice in place. We followed up with a solicitor's letter pointing out this irregularity and the strict application of the rules on notices as well as other discrepancies. The council ignored the letter and never replied. They also did not place it on the planning file and gave as the reason the fact that the 20 fee was not paid.

Upon inspection of the file it appeared that revised drawings had been faxed to the local authority several days after the date of submissions (and after I had complained about the lack of notice) and that these drawings had been included on the file. Further inspection of the file after permission had been granted showed that the faxes had been stamped as received days before they had been faxed.

I have in my possession three copies of the same drawing showing the addition of the notice to it and the post dated validation of the amended version.

Now we can never know for certain, but based on the above it appears that the developer was tipped off by the local authority about the notice and instead of invalidating the application he was allowed mend his hand. The planner in his report said that since there were quite a few objections he was happy with the signage.

Apart from that, the same planner in the local authority granted permission for an almost identical development that he had two years previously refused on fairly comprehensive grounds of design and layout without giving an explanation. He also allowed a road to pass through a pNHA because there was no other way to access the development.
Friday, April 17, 2009 2:57:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Would this perhaps be in Donegal FPL?
Saturday, April 25, 2009 1:45:17 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
No Meath actually
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