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Blog 3 – Planning Stage

county donegal development plan

So you’ve completed the much thought over scheme design stage and designed the most perfect house but the next question will be…will your local County Council agree to the design and location on site? If your site is in a rural area there can be many house type restrictions but a well experienced registered architect can guide you through the right design process, however, there may be issues that can arise and will be unforeseen until a planning application is lodged.


house plans

A very common question I receive is “How long will the planning process take?”…The planning stage usually takes about 3 months for a smooth sailing application, however, sometimes the Planning Authority may look for additional information or changes that may slow up the process.

Once a Planning Notice is advertised in the local newspaper your architect has 2 weeks to lodge the application with the local County Council. A Site Notice must then be erected on site and must remain visible for 5 weeks from the date the planning application is lodged with the Council.

Generally, the Planning Authority will not assess an application to approx. week 6, as the first 5 weeks allow for any observations or submissions to be made on the submitted application. It is usually around week 8-12 that the Planning Authority will issue the architect their decision, which will either be a request for ‘Further Information’, a ‘Notification of Decision to Grant’ or a ‘Notification of Decision to Refuse’. The ‘Notification of Decision’ is merely a notification and does not hold any legal standing until the ‘Final Decision to Grant / Refuse’ is issued 4 weeks later. This 4 week timeframe allows for any applicants (usually in the case of a refusal) or objectors (usually in the case of a grant) to appeal the Council’s decision to An Bord Pleanala who are the planning regulatory body for Ireland.

planning permission letter

It is also possible to hire in a planning consultant to act on your behalf and with your architect if decisions start to get complicated with your planning application. Planning consultants have a full understanding of planning policies and planning acts and may know a solution to what may have been a problem. It is highly recommended to use a consultant that has planning education and experience behind them as there is usually only one chance to make appeals and you want to ensure they will provide you with the best possible chance to achieve the outcome you desire.

The planning stage can be a worry and stress for clients and can sometimes take up to one year, especially if appeals are made to An Bord Plenala, but if this is your house for life it is important to allow time for all these aspects that may arise, foreseen or unforeseen, to ensure you have taken all the necessary steps in achieving the best possible solution.

an bord pleanala

So with our own fully approved ‘Decision to Grant’ it’s now on to the not so fun bit….Building Control!