Fast Track Planning

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act, 2016 (‘the Act’) came into force on 23 December 2016. The Act provides new protections for residential tenants and amends the planning code by introducing a fast-track planning procedure for “Strategic Housing Developments’.

Strategic Housing Developments include the following:

  • 100 or more houses on land zoned for residential or mixed use.
  • 200 or more bed spaces on land zoned for student accommodation or a mixture of it and other uses.
  • Development that includes either type listed above.
  • Alteration of existing planning permissions which relate to the above.

There are additional criteria:

  • The cumulative floor area of the houses/student accommodation must comprise not less than 85% (or such other % as may be prescribed) of the gross floor space of the proposed development.
  • The other uses cumulatively must not exceed 15 square metres gross floor space for each house or 7.5 square metres gross floor space for each bed space in student accommodation, or both, subject to a maximum of 4,500 square metres gross floor space for such other uses in the development.
  • Such other areas as may be prescribed by reference to the number of houses or bed spaces in student accommodation within the proposed development.

Applications for fast track planning permission:

  • The application must be made to An Bord Pleanala (An Bord) as opposed to the local planning authority.
  • Before applying the applicant must have consulted with the appropriate planning authority.
  • Before applying the applicant must also make a request to An Bord to ‘enter into consultations’.
  • The applicant must also have had at least one meeting with the local planning authority.
  • If the planning authority does not hold a consultation within the time limits provided, then An Bord can proceed to deal with the application.

The request to An Bord should include:

  • Site location plan
  • Brief description of the nature and purpose of the development together with any possible environmental effects
  • Draft layout plan
  • Details of the pre-application consultations with the planning authority
  • Statement from the applicant that the proposal is consistent with the relevant objectives of the development plan or local area plan and the relevant guidelines under section 28 of the 2000 Act.

Next Steps

  1. Within two weeks of An Bord receiving the request to ‘enter into consultations’, An Bord will either accept or, refuse giving reasons for its decision within 2 weeks.
  2. Where the request is accepted, An Bord has 2 weeks to notify the applicant and the appropriate planning authority in writing and convene a consultation meeting between the parties.
  3. The planning authority submits its opinion of An Bord’s decision, having regard to the provisions of the relevant development plan/local area plan.
  4. An Bord convenes a consultation meeting within 4 weeks from the date of receipt of request.
  5. The applicant, An Bord and the relevant planning authority should be present at the consultation. An Bord has 3 weeks from the consultation (or if more than one, the last consultation) to decide whether the documents lodged provide a reasonable basis for an application.

Application for Permission

The application for permission must set out the following:

  • How the proposal will be consistent with the objectives of the relevant development plan or local area plan or if it materially contravenes these why permission should be granted.
  • Whether an environmental impact statement or Natura impact statement has been prepared (if applicable)
  • If the proposed development will have significant effects on the environment of EU Member States or a state that is party to the Transboundary Convention.

The planning authority has 8 weeks from receipt to prepare and submit a report of its Chief Executive setting out whether:

  • The proposed development would be consistent with the relevant objectives of the development plan or local area plan, and whether
  • Permission be granted or refused, together with its reasons.

An Bord shall consider the report of the planning authority and any submissions, observations, or other relevant information relating to consequences for proper planning and sustainable development in the area, before making its decision to grant or refuse to grant permission.

For further information in relation to this matter, please contact Joan Maclean (Partner) or your usual AMOSS contact.