Top 5 ways to secure planning permission

Applying for full planning permission (FPP) can be a long, strenuous process. Here are out top tips on how to improve your chances when building new, extending or converting/changing use, in any of the 32 counties of Ireland. 

1. Read, consult and reference your local authority’s planning policy. In NI these are referred to as local development plans or area plans and in ROI county development plans (CDP). The document sets out your local authority’s planning precepts, and may come with a guide to building in the countryside, e.g. roof and wall coverings that are not acceptable, ridge heights etc. all of which are likely to impact on the design of your house. IN ROI the Cork Rural Design Guide in particular is viewed as a best practice document to consult even if you are not building in that area. PPS21 is the NI planning policy in relation to sustainable development in the countryside, which includes the must-read guidance document Building on Tradition: A Sustainable Design Guide for the NI Countryside.

2. To the greatest extent possible, sort out all other paperwork in advance, including water connection, percolation test/connection to mains sewage or group scheme (ROI), roads service, as well as Listed Building Consent if the building is Listed (Historic Buildings Unit in NI) or the Department of Community, Rural & the Gaeltacht and your local Conservation Officer in ROI. Also protected are some species of flora and fauna; if you believe that this may be an issue, contact NIEA in NI or your Local Authority in ROI. Applications in rural areas, and especially areas of High or Especially High Amenity (ROI) or Scenic Beauty, may require additional information to be sent with your application, including a Natural Impact Assessment.

3. Secure a pre-planning meeting. Most local authorities welcome an opportunity to discuss and explain their policy and a visit to their offices should be time well spent to discuss your plans. You can also ask whether they have standard plans – especially for garages – which you can purchase off the shelf and, apart from satisfying local requirements such as its position and the effect upon neighbouring properties, are deemed acceptable.

4. Consider hiring a professional. The requirements to secure FPP are many and as a novice, you may not be as quick to put together a successful application than someone whose job it is to do this day in, day out. A design professional or an accredited planner would be best suited to do this for you.

5. Keep your neighbours informed of your plans ahead of the official notification. They may know information about the site that could prove useful, or result in a change in the design that will make it less likely to cause an objection to be lodged.

For our BASICS article dealing with the ins and outs of planning permission, don’t miss the Autumn 2017 issue of Selfbuild magazine out July 25th from all good newsagents. 

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email

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