Published in ‘The Irish Field’, March 19th 2016

Planning Issues: The common problems

At OBPA, we advocate that all property boundaries should be accurately surveyed and mapped to ensure the registered boundaries recorded by the Property Registration Authority correctly record the positions of the boundaries on the ground. Recent expert advice suggests that all property boundaries should be property defined prior to purchase or sale.

For all landowners, including owners of Stud Farms, Breeders, etc., there are many issues with which they are concerned, ranging from property boundary issues, adverse possession, encroachment, title issues, rights of way, inaccurate registration and many more.

This article, the first of a series to be published over the coming weeks, is concerned with examining common planning issues which arise for property owners. The due diligence now required by the legal profession during property transfers means that planning issues which in the past lay largely undiscovered during the conveyance process are now examined and can sometimes cause significant delays to rectify before closing sales. The common Irish solution to leave potential problems lie, rather than solving them is a recipe for disaster in 21st century Ireland.

As you may know, to build a home or to make any alterations to your property or farm, one must first obtain planning permission. You can opt to build first and apply for retention after construction, but that approach has inevitable risks. The best approach is to present the design to the planning authority prior to construction and amend any compliance issues regarding building regulations and also also to ensure it meets the requirements within the current County or City Development Plan.

There are many exceptions where planning permission is not required, such as, building a front porch onto a house once it does not exceed 2 square metres in area and is more than 2 metres from any public road or footpath. Similarly, extensions to the rear or side of a house do not need planning permission if they are less than 40 square metres in area and do not exceed 4 metres in height. There are many more exemptions available at the address below but all are subject to planning history of the area, site location and the building design particulars used.

The most common planning issues OBPA has encountered are:

  1. Deciding when exemptions apply or when planning permission should be sought;
  2. Pre-planning consultations with the planning officer for your area to ensure designs submitted satisfy current building regulations and meet the requirements of the Local Area Plan or the County Development Plan;
  3. Situations when it might be best to apply for outline planning permission;
  4. Septic tanks being too close to the property boundary in contradiction to planning conditions;
  5. Creating new sites for relatives or for sale – issues to be considered such as site size, marking new boundaries on the ground, conducting a boundary survey to ensure the new boundaries are correctly depicted on the contract map for transfer;

According to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government it can take up to 12 – 20 weeks to receive planning permission, due to the formality of the process, further information required by the Local Authorities and or objections from neighbours. Thus having a timetable and being prepared for the process is very important as it can become quite cumbersome, stressful and costs may escalate for delays.

For any queries regarding any with regard Boundary Surveying, Legal Mapping and any other Land Law issues, please contact OBPA. We are here to help.

Dr. Daragh O’Brien / Dr. Patrick Prendergast.