Planning Appeals - FAQs
The planning system includes a comprehensive appeals process, under which all planning decisions made by planning authorities may be subjected to review by An Bord Pleanála . The main features of this appeals process are outlined in the FAQ section below.
This FAQ section is intended as a practical guide. It is not a definitive legal interpretation of planning law. For more information, consult An Bord Pleanála or your local planning authority.
- Who may appeal?
- Is there a time limit on appeals?
- How do I appeal?
- What must I include in my appeal?
- What if my appeal is incomplete?
- Can I see the planning authority file before appealing?
- Can I get copies of documents relating to a planning application?
- Can I make my views known to the Board without appealing?
- What must I include in my submissions or observations?
- Can I ask for an oral hearing?
- What happens to the appeal?
- How does the Board ensure fair play for all?
- Can the Board do any more than review the decision of the planning authority?
- Can the Board contravene the provisions of the local development plan?
- What is the time limit for deciding appeals?
- Will I be informed of the Board's decision?
- Can the Board dismiss appeals?
- Can I withdraw my appeal?
- How strict are the time limits?
- What if the offices of the Board are closed on the last day allowed?
- Can the Board's documents be inspected and purchased?
- Can I appeal a planning authority's decision if I have not made a submission or observation to the planning authority?
- Where can I get further information?
Two categories of people can appeal a planning decision:
- An applicant for planning permission.
- Any person, body or interested group who made submissions or observations in writing to the planning authority in relation to the planning application, in accordance with permission regulations.
There are two exceptions to this rule:
- Where a prescribed body was entitled to be notified by the planning authority of a planning application and was not, that body may lodge an appeal against the decision of the planning authority, without having made submissions or observations on the planning application.
- A person who has an interest in adjoining lands in respect of which a decision to grant permission has been made, may apply to the Board for leave to appeal the decision of the planning authority. (See question 25.)
Except where a person has been granted leave to appeal by the Board, appeals must be received by the Board within four weeks, beginning on the date of the decision by the planning authority. This is not the date on which the decision was sent or received. For example, if a planning authority's decision is made on the Wednesday, the 2nd of a month, the last day for receipt of the appeal is Tuesday 29th of the same month.
Where leave to appeal is granted, the appeal must be received by the Board within two weeks of the person appealing receiving notification of this fact.
As there are strict statutory time limits, the Board has no discretion to accept late appeals, whether they are sent by post or otherwise. It is your responsibility to ensure that the appeal, or other material, arrives on time. An appeal or other material posted within the permitted period but received outside it will be invalid.
Each appeal must be made in writing and sent by post to the following address:
An Bord Pleanála,
64 Marlborough Street,
Appeals can also be delivered by hand to an employee of An Bord Pleanála at its offices, during office hours, which are 9:15am to 5:30pm on Monday to Friday, except on public holidays and days on which the offices are closed.
The appeal must be fully complete. You are not allowed to submit any part of it later on, even within the time limit.
You must include the following information in your appeal:
- Your own name and address. If an agent is making the appeal on your behalf, the agent's name and address must be provided, in addition to your own.
- The subject matter of the appeal. You must give the Board sufficient detail to enable it to readily identify the planning application to which the appeal relates. Examples of such details include a copy of the planning authority decision, details of the nature and site of the proposed development, the name of the planning authority and the planning register reference number of the planning decision.
- The grounds of the appeal and supporting material and arguments. The Board cannot take into consideration any grounds of appeal or information submitted after the appeal, except material it has specifically requested. It cannot consider non-planning issues, so grounds of appeal should not include such issues.
- The correct fee. Details of fees are available from the Board or from your local planning authority. Click here for more information about fees.
- In the case of a third-party appeal, the acknowledgement given by the planning authority that it received the submission or observation made by the person.
If your appeal does not meet all the legal requirements, it will be invalid, and cannot be considered by the Board.
Yes. The planning application and any submissions or observations received in relation to it are made available for public inspection at the planning authority's offices soon after they are received.
Within three working days of its decision, the planning authority also makes the following information available at its offices:
- The complete application and any information supplied by the applicant.
- Its own reports on the application.
- Its decision and notification of this to the applicant, and any other person or body who made submissions or observations in relation to the application.
This planning authority file remains open for public inspection for a period of not less than seven years after the decision has been made.
Yes. Copies of documents can be purchased from the planning authority at a reasonable price.
Yes. Where an appeal has already been made, you can become an 'observer', and make submissions or observations on the appeal. A copy of the appeal can seen at the planning authority's office. The time limit for such submissions or observations is four weeks from the receipt of the appeal by the Board, or the last appeal, where more than one is made. Where an Environmental Impact Statement has been submitted, the time limit is within four weeks of the date the Board publishes notice of its receipt. Where the Board has requested the applicant to publish a further site or newspaper notice, the limit is four weeks from the date of the publication of the notice.
Should the appeal, or appeals, be withdrawn, the decision of the planning authority stands and your submission lapses.
An observer's submissions or observations must be submitted in writing. They can be sent by post to the following address:
An Bord Pleanála,
64 Marlborough Street,
Alternatively, they can be delivered by hand to an employee of the Board at the Board's offices during office hours, which are 9:15am to 5:30pm on Monday to Friday, except on public holidays and days on which the offices are closed.
Your submissions or observations must be accompanied by the following:
- Your own name and address. If an agent is making submissions or observations on your behalf, the agent's name and address must be provided, in addition to your own.
- The subject matter of the submissions or observations. You must give sufficient details to enable the Board to readily to identify the application or appeal. Examples are a copy of the planning authority decision or the appeal reference number.
- The full grounds of the submissions or observations, and supporting material or arguments. The Board cannot take into consideration any further submissions, observations or other information once the original submission has been made, except information specifically requested by the Board. It cannot consider non-planning issues.
- The correct fee, except in the case of certain prescribed bodies. Details of fees are available from the Board or from your local planning authority.
Any party to the appeal may request an oral hearing, provided the correct, non-refundable fee is paid, in addition to the appeal fee. If you are making the appeal, you must request the hearing within the period for lodging the appeal. If you are a party to an appeal, but not the person making it, and you are sent a copy of the appeal, you must request the hearing within four weeks of the date the copy is sent to you.
If you request an oral hearing, you must state your grounds of appeal in full, and comply with the other legal requirements when lodging your appeal.
The Board has absolute discretion to hold an oral hearing, with or without a request from a partly. It generally holds such hearings only where they will aid its understanding of particularly complex cases, or where it considers that significant national or local issues are involved.
The Board sends a copy of the appeal to the planning authority, and in the case of a third-party appeal, to the developer. These bodies have four weeks to submit their views. The Board cannot consider views that are too late. Parties are not permitted to elaborate on their views once they have been submitted to the Board.
Where the Board considers it appropriate in the interests of justice, it can ask any party, observer, person or body to make submissions or observations on any matter that has arisen in the appeal. This allows the Board to seek comment on any significant new matter arising in the appeal.
The Board has powers to require any party or observer to submit any document or any information it considers necessary. It specifies a time limit, which is a minimum of two weeks, for submission of the invited material. This limit is strictly enforced.
Yes. Generally, the Board is required to consider the proposed development afresh. Accordingly, all the relevant planning issues relating to the application, whether or not they were raised by the planning authority, the parties or observers, are considered by the Board in its determination of the case. Parties and observers are given an opportunity to comment on any new issue that arises.
Yes. While obliged to have regard to the provisions of a local development plan, the Board may contravene its provisions in certain circumstances. In circumstances where the planning authority decides to refuse permission on the grounds that the proposed development materially contravenes the development plan, the Board may grant permission on appeal, but only if it considers that one or more of the following is the case:
- The proposed development is of strategic or national importance.
- There are conflicting objectives in the development plan, or the objectives are not clearly stated, insofar as the proposed development is concerned.
- Permission should be granted, having regard to regional planning guidelines for the area; ministerial guidelines; ministerial policy directives; the statutory obligations of any local authority in the area; and any relevant policy of the government, the minister or any minister of the government.
- Permission should be granted, having regard to the pattern of development and permissions granted in the area since the making of the development plan.
Even where the proposed development is in accordance with the local development plan, the Board can refuse permission for other reasons.
The Board's objective is to dispose of appeals within 18 weeks. However, where the Board does not consider it possible or appropriate to reach a decision within that time - for example, because of delays arising from the holding of an oral hearing - it informs the parties of the reasons for this. In this case, the Board is obliged to say when it intends to make the decision.
Yes. The decision's validity may be challenged only by way of judicial review in the High Court, within eight weeks. The Court will not re-open the planning merits of the case, but will consider only legal and procedural issues.
Yes. The Board has discretion to dismiss an appeal, where it is satisfied that the appeal is vexatious; frivolous; without substance or foundation; or made with the sole intention of delaying development or of securing the payment of money, gifts, considerations or other inducement by any persons.
The Board can declare a planning application or appeal withdrawn where it is satisfied it has been abandoned. It may also direct the holding of an oral hearing, to determine whether an appeal is made with the sole intention of delaying development or of securing the payment of money, gifts, considerations or other inducement by any person.
Yes. An appeal can be withdrawn by an appellant, and the planning application can be withdrawn by the applicant at any time prior to the determination of the case by the Board. Where an appeal is withdrawn, the original decision of the planning authority takes effect. Where the planning application is withdrawn by the applicant, no permission can be granted by the planning authority in relation to the application.
In order for the Board to determine appeals within 18 weeks, all the time limits are very strict, and the Board has no discretion to extend the dates. This applies to the lodging of appeals, the submission of comments by parties, the making of submissions and observations to the Board by others and, where invited by the Board, to additional submissions.
When the last date for the receipt of an appeal or other material falls on a weekend, public holiday or other day when the Board's offices are closed, the deadline for receipt is the next day on which the offices of the Board are open.
The period from 24 December to 1 January inclusive is excluded for the purposes of the calculation of all periods of time in relation to planning appeals. If the last day of the four-week period for making an appeal falls in the period from 24 December to 1 January inclusive, the last day for making your appeal is extended. For example, if the last day of the four-week period falls on 24 December, the last day for making an appeal is 2 January; and if the last day for the four-week
period falls on 29 December, the last day for making an appeal is 7 January.
The exclusion of the Christmas and New Year period also applies to any other matter in relation to an appeal where a time period is specified. If the last day of the 18-week statutory objective period within which the Board should decide an appeal falls within the Christmas and New Year period, the period is extended by the appropriate number of days.
Files on appeals can be inspected by members of the public after the appeals are determined by the Board. They can be inspected free of charge at the Board's offices on weekdays between 10am and 12:30pm and 2:30pm and 4:30pm, except on public holidays and other days when the offices are closed. Copies of any documents on these files can be purchased at the Board's offices during these hours for the reasonable cost of copying documents. Further details concerning the inspection and purchase of document are available from the An Bord Pleanála .
If you are an adjoining landowner who did not make a submission or observation to the planning authority in relation to the application, you may apply to the Board for leave to appeal within four weeks of a planning authority's decision to grant permission. The Board may grant leave to appeal where the you show that:
- The decision of the planning authority to grant permission differs materially from the application, because of the conditions attached to the permission.
- The conditions will materially affect your enjoyment of the land or reduce the value of the land.
If you are seeking leave to appeal, you must state your name and address, the grounds on which you are basing the leave to appeal and a description of your interest in the land. When a fee is set by the Board, you must pay the appropriate fee.
The planning appeal must be received by the Board within two weeks of your receipt of notification of the leave to appeal.
Further information is available from your local planning authority, or from An Bord Pleanála at the following address:
An Bord Pleanála,
64 Marlborough Street,
Tel: 01 8588 100.