The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2018 was signed into law on 19th July, 2018.

Of particular note is that the following amendments to the extension of duration of permissions under Section 42 of the Principal Act comes into operation on the passing of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2018:

  • In the event of an application to extend the duration of a permission where substantial works have been carried out, the Planning Authority must be satisfied that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Appropriate Assessment (AA) or both was, or were not required, before the permission was granted.
  • A decision to extend the appropriate period shall not be made more than twice. Where a second decision to extent an appropriate period is made, the combined duration of the 2 extensions of the appropriate period shall not exceed 5 years.

The principle amendments to the Principal Act are the establishment and operation of the Office of the Planning Regulator; the inclusion of provisions for the National Planning Framework; and the inclusion of provisions for Marine Spatial Plans. These are subject to a Ministerial Order(s) prior to commencement.

Other miscellaneous and consequential amendments to the Principal Act, as amended, which require commencement orders, include:

  • Section 4 of the Principal Act (exempted development) is amended to specify that the construction, maintenance or improvement of private road (other than a public road) serving a forest or woodland can be considered exempted development except where access is provided to a national road within the meaning of the Roads Act 1993.
  • Section 7(e) of the Principal Act (planning register) is amended to include such further points of detail as are agreed, or deemed to have been agreed, under section 34(5), between the planning authority and the person carrying out the development’.
  • Section 10 of the Principal Act (content of development plans) is amended to ensure the Development Plan is consistent with specific planning policy requirements specified in Section 28 Guidelines.
  • Section 11 of the Principal Act (preparation of draft development plan) is amended to provide for the incorporation of the National Planning Framework and a regional spatial and economic strategy into a development plan.
  • Section 13 of the Principal Act (variation of development plan) provides that Members may submit a resolution to the Chief Executive of the Planning Authority to prepare a report on a proposal by them to initiate a process to consider a variation to the development plan where three quarters of the members have approved such a resolution. The Chief Executive shall submit a report to members within four weeks of the adoption of the resolution.
  • Section 33 of the Principal Act (regulations regarding applications for permission) provides for a waiver or reduction or a different fee in respect of submissions or observations for Members of a local authority. It also provides for the making and processing by electronic means of planning applications, appeals, payment of fees, etc. as well as requiring the inputting of data by planning authorities into such databases or national planning systems as may be prescribed by the Minister.
  • Section 34 of the Principal Act (permission for development) includes provision for the planning authority to have regard to previous developments by the applicant which have not been satisfactorily completed, as well as previous convictions against the applicant for non-compliance with the Principal Act, the Building Control Act or the Fire Services Act. This Section is also to include provisions for the planning authority in the case of residential developments of 10 or more houses, to have regard to information concerning implementation by the applicant of any housing development in the previous 5 years, and an assessment of the likelihood of the proposed development being implemented within the appropriate period sought. This Section is also to include provision for the planning authority to a) reach agreement with the person, or (b) either (i) advise the person in writing that they cannot agree, or (ii) refer the matter to the Board for its determination, in respect of points of detail on planning conditions within 8 weeks (or such longer period as may be agreed). In respect of (b)(i) the person may refer the matter to the Board within 4 weeks. Where no response is made within 8 weeks (or such longer period as may be agreed), the planning authority shall be deemed to have agreed to the points of detail as submitted.
  • Section 35 of the Principal Act (refusal of planning permission for past failures to comply) has been extended to include registered societies under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893-2014.
  • Section 41 of the Principal Act (power to vary appropriate period) is amended to provide for power to specify the period during which the permission is to have effect, being a period of (a) not less than 2 years and (b) in the case of residential development, of not more than 10 years. Where an application relates to residential development comprising 10 or more houses, a planning authority may have regard to any information available to it concerning the implementation by the applicant of any housing development in the previous 5 years, as well as an assessment of the likelihood of the permission being implemented within the period sought.
  • A new Section 44A is inserted in the Principal Act to provide for the revocation or modification of planning permission. The Minister may, upon the request of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or the Minister of Defence, and with the approval of Government, make an order revoking, or modifying a grant of permission, whether granted before, on or after the passing of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2018, but not if the period exceeds 5 years. if they are satisfied that the granted permission is likely to be harmful to (i) the security or defence of the State or (ii) the State’s relations with other states and that the revocation or modification is necessary in the public interest. The notice served will require the cessation of development and the restoration of the land. Any development carried out in contravention of an order shall be unauthorised development. There is provision to revoke an order.
  • Section 247 (consultations in relation to proposed development) is amended to include provision for at least one pre-planning consultation for development of (i) more than 10 housing units (to include Part V) or non-residential development of more than 1,000 square metres gross floor space, or (ii) such other development as may be prescribed. Such consultations shall be held within 4 weeks of the date of receipt of a request for a meeting, unless extended by a specified period. The failure of the planning authority to comply shall not prevent an applicant from making a planning application. Regulations may be made with respect to this procedure. Gross floor space is clarified as meaning the internal measurement of the floor space on each floor of a building (including internal walls and partitions), disregarding any floor space provided for the parking of vehicles.
  • The First Schedule of the Principal Act is amended to include provision for an objective regulating, restricting or controlling the development of licensed premises within the meaning of the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2011. Note that this amendment takes effect in respect of a new development plan after the passing of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018.
  • The Fourth Schedule of the Principal Act is amended in respect of an application for permission from an applicant associated with a previous development which (a) has not been satisfactorily completed or (b) which has not been taken in charge because the estate has not been completed to the satisfaction of the local authority, as a non-compensatory reason for refusal. This applies whether or not it was within the functional area of the planning authority to which the proposed development relates.
  • The Seventh Schedule of the Principal Act is amended to include communications and data infrastructure in one or more structure(s), the combined gross floor space of which exceeds 10,000 square metres, and the provision of associated electricity connections infrastructure.
  • Part 5 of the

The Derelict Sites Act is also amended to provide for the derelict sites levy (3% of the market value of the urban land concerned, increasing to 7% in 2020 and any subsequent financial year).

Section 5 (iii) of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act, 2015 is amended by Section 63 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2018, to include the following in the definition of a vacant site:

(iii) the site, or the majority of the site is –

  1. Vacant or idle, or
  2. Being used for a purpose that does not consist solely or primarily of the provision of housing or the development of the site for the purpose of such provision, provided that the most recent purchase of the site occurred-
    1. After it became residential land, and
    2. Before, on or after the commencement of section 63 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018.

The provisions for the application of the Vacant Site Levy are also amended (3% of the market value in 2018, increasing to 7% in 2019 and every subsequent year).