The enforcement of planning decisions is the responsibility of the Planning Authority, which has wide enforcement powers to ensure development is carried out in conformity with a Planning Permission and to halt and rectify unauthorised development.
Care should be taken to ensure that each condition of a Permission and the permitted plans are fully complied with, in order to avoid incurring such enforcement action, and also to avoid difficulties when the property is being sold at a later date. See the section on rectifying a planning unauthorised development below.
Stopping Unauthorised Development
If you think somebody is developing or using land without or contrary to a Planning Permission you should contact the Planning Authority in writing using the Enforcement Complaint Form. The Planning Authority will issue a Warning Letter to the person carrying out the development based on the complaint received provided sufficient information is available to send such letter. They will subsequently investigate the matter to determine if enforcement action should be taken.
Any person may apply to either the Circuit or High Courts for an order restraining unauthorised development or use of land, or requiring compliance with a Planning Permission. The Courts are responsible for compliance with any order made.
Please use the following link and navigate to the heading titled: Planning Enforcement Guidelines, Complaint Form and Online Complaint Form
Penalties for Breaches of Planning Law
It is an offence to undertake any work needing Planning Permission without that Permission. Planning Authorities have powers to stop unauthorised development, and this can be a costly experience for the offender. You may be required to rectify any unauthorised works, and you may have to pay the costs and expenses incurred by the Planning Authority. On conviction in the District Court, significant fines can be imposed, together with fines per day for continuing offences and/or to a term of imprisonment of six months. On conviction in the higher Courts, more substantial fines is can be imposed, together with substantial fines per day for continuing offences and/or to a term of imprisonment of two years.
Rectifying Planning Unauthorised Development
Genuine mistakes can be made in relation to the need for Planning Permission. If you undertake unauthorised development, you may apply for Planning Permission to retain it. However, this approach should not be relied upon to avoid seeking Planning Permission before starting work, as you may not necessarily be granted Permission for retention or you may be required to carry out costly modifications.
The application fee for retention of an unauthorised development is also three times the fee for an application made for a proposed development. Permission for retention does not automatically absolve you from prosecution if enforcement action has already been taken against you. If you are buying property, check that the building itself and any extensions or alterations to it have a Planning Permission or are exempt from requiring Planning Permission. You, as the new owner, may be liable to enforcement action.
You will not be entitled solely by reason of Planning Permission to carry out your proposed development. You may need other approvals, depending on the type of development. For example, all new buildings, extensions, alterations and certain changes in the use of existing buildings must comply with Building Regulations, which set out basic design and construction requirements. Non-residential developments will probably require a Fire Safety Certificate under the regulations. You may also need permission if making a connection to a public water main or sewer.
The planning system includes a comprehensive appeals process.
Under this, all planning decisions made by the Planning Authority may be subject to independent review by An Bord Pleanála.
Please access the printable "Guide to Making an Appeal here".
This leaflet gives details of the main features of the appeal process and is intended as a practical guide to the procedures under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. It is not a definitive legal interpretation of the planning law. This Guide does NOT deal with direct applications to the Board for planning permissions / approvals in respect of strategic infrastructure development. See separate guide for those procedures.
Further information is available from your local Planning Authority, online at An Bord Pleanála or at the following address:
An Bord Pleanála,
64 Marlborough Street,
Tel: 01 8588 100.
Quarries-Section 261A Planning and Development Act 2000-2010, as amended.
A number of new legislative provisions were contained in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 and the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011; these were commenced on 15 November 2011.
The requirements of these legislative provisions are summarized as follows:
(i) Requirement for local authorities to prepare a complete inventory of all quarries in their jurisdiction
(ii) Within 9 months of the commencement of the legislative provisions, all planning authorities had to identify the qualifying quarries and determine whether Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Appropriate Assessment (AA) or screening for same was required and, if required, was it carried out
(iii) Where a Planning Authority makes a determination that EIA or AA (or Screening for same) was required but not carried out the Planning Authority shall, depending on decisions regarding the planning status of the quarry, issue notice to the owner or operator of the quarry directing them to apply to the Board for substitute consent in respect of the quarry, or issue a notice to the owner or operator of the quarry requiring that the quarry operation cease.
(iv) Quarry operators have the right to request a review by An Bord Pleanála of the planning authority's determination and /or decisions.
It should be noted that the above is a brief summary of the implications of the above referenced legislative provisions and the complete text of the Planning & Development Act 2000-2010, as amended should be consulted and can be found here.
The Planning Section undertook an assessment of all quarries in the administrative areas of Cork County Council as required under Section 261A of the Planning & Development Act 2000-2010, as amended. Details of quarries that were assessed, including reports and notices (if applicable) and a link to the GIS Map can be accessed from the link below.
The website will be updated on the receipt of decisions from An Bord Pleanála regarding the review of notices or the determination of applications for Substitute Consent.
Taking in Charge in Housing Estates
Public Lighting in Housing Estates
If you wish to report a public lighting fault, please use our online portal
Under the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act, 2015, (the Act) all planning authorities are required to establish and maintain a Vacant Sites Register (the Register). The Register must be in place by January 1st 2017. An identified vacant site can be entered on the Register when the authority is of the opinion that it has been vacant for a minimum of 12 months preceding its entry on the Register.
The Council has undertaken an assessment and quantification of the number and location of vacant sites, focussing on County Metropolitan Cork in the first instance. Sites suitable for housing were assessed in detail against the criteria set out in the Act which can be summarised as follows:
The site has an area in excess of 0.05 hectares and is zoned for either residential or regeneration purposes. In the case of residential land the site is:
- Situated in an area in need of housing
- The site is suitable for the provision of housing, and,
- The site or the majority of the site is vacant or idle
And in the case of regeneration land:
- The site, or the majority of the site is vacant or idle, and,
- The site being vacant has an adverse effect on existing amenities or reduces the amenity provided by existing public infrastructure and facilities
- Statement that there has been a change of ownership of vacant site
- Cork County Vacant Sites Register
Identification of Vacant Sites:
In order to form an opinion on whether a site meets the criteria, the site is first inspected, photographed and a report is prepared which includes a general description of the site and previous planning history if same exists.
It is also a requirement of the Act that for a site to be entered on the Register details of ownership and title to the site are identified, and, the market value pertaining to the site determined thereafter. The statutory process of notifying property owners of the authority’s intention to include their property on the Vacant Sites Register is concluded and the 28 days submission period for notified landowners has expired.
Vacant Sites Register & Levy:
The Register was established on January 1st 2017. The authority must notify property owners before 1st June 2018 that their sites, which are on the Register, shall be charged the levy in respect of 2018 in January 2019 and every further year thereafter until the site is no longer vacant. The levy shall be payable in arrears each year beginning in 2019 by the owner of the vacant site that stands entered on the Register on 1st January of that year. The levy shall be payable on a demand being made by the authority and shall be calculated at 7% of the market value of the site.
When notified by the authority of its intention to include a site on the Vacant Sites Register, a property owner has the right to object and can make a submission to the planning authority within 28 days. If, having considered the submission, the authority is of the opinion that the site was a vacant site for the duration of the 12 months concerned and continues to be a vacant site it shall enter the site on the Register. When a site has been entered on the Register, the authority must notify the property owner of same and the owner may within 28 days (of the date of the notice) appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanala (ABP). Entry on the Register shall not take effect until the appeal is determined by ABP.
Before 1st June 2018, the authority must notify owners of vacant sites on the Register on 1st January 2018 that the levy shall be charged for 2018 in January 2019. Property owners may make submissions in respect of the entry on the Register to the authority within 28 days. If, having considered the submission the authority is still of the view that the property should remain on the Register, it must notify the property owner of same and the owner may within 28 days of the date of the notice appeal to ABP. If ABP upholds the appeal the entry shall be cancelled on the Register.
The authority must determine the market value of a vacant site as soon as after it is entered on the Vacant Sites Register and notify owner of same. The owner can appeal the valuation to the Valuation Tribunal within 28 days of the notice. Subject to the right of appeal on a point of law, the decision of the Tribunal is final.
An owner of a vacant site who receives a demand for payment of the levy may appeal against same to ABP within 28 days of the date of the demand on grounds that the site is no longer vacant or that the calculation of the levy is incorrect. If ABP upholds the appeal, then either the entry shall be removed from the Register and the demand cancelled or it will advise the authority of the correct amount of the levy and an amended demand shall issue.