Any party to the appeal (not an “observer”) may request an oral hearing provided the correct non-refundable fee is paid in addition to the appeal fee. The appellant must make the request within the period for lodging the appeal but, where a party to an appeal other than an appellant is sent a copy of an appeal, he/she may make the request within four weeks from the date the copy is sent to him/her.
If you request an oral hearing, you still 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 party and will generally only hold one where this will aid its understanding of a particularly complex case or where it considers that significant national or local issues are involved. The Board 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.
16. What happens next?
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 have four weeks to submit their views. The Board cannot consider any views that are late and no party is allowed elaborate on his/her views in writing once they have been submitted to the Board.
17. How does the Board ensure fair play for all?
Where the Board considers it appropriate in the interests of justice, it can ask any party, observer or any other person or body to make submissions or observations on any matter that has arisen in the appeal. This will allow the Board, for instance, to seek comment on any significant new matter arising in the appeal. The Board also has powers to require any party or observer to submit any document, information etc. which it considers necessary. The Board will specify a time limit (minimum 2 weeks) for submission of the invited material and this limit will be strictly enforced.
18. Can the Board consider matters which have not been raised in the appeal?
Yes. Generally, the Board is required to consider the application, the subject of the appeal, afresh. Accordingly, all the relevant planning issues relating to the application are considered by the Board in its determination of the case whether or not they were raised by the planning authority, the parties or observers. As stated at 17 above, if a new issue arises the parties and observers will be given an opportunity to comment on these.
Where an appeal relates to conditions only which are attached to a decision of a planning authority to grant permission and there is no other appeal, the Board may generally use its discretionary powers not to consider the application afresh but, instead, to issue directions to the planning authority to amend, remove or attach new conditions to the decision. Where it decides not to use its discretionary powers, the Board may either grant or refuse permission for the development even where conditions only are appealed. However, see also answer to question 10 relating to Development and Supplementary Contribution Scheme conditions and special contributions where different provisions may apply.
19. Can the Board contravene the provisions of the local Development Plan?
Yes. The Board, while obliged to have regard to the provisions of a local development plan, 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 –
· the proposed development is of strategic or national importance, or
· there are conflicting objectives in the Development Plan or the objectives are not clearly stated, insofar as the proposed development is concerned, or
· 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 or any Minister of the Government, or
· permission should be granted having regard to the pattern of development and permissions granted in the area since the making of the Development Plan.
The Board can, of course, refuse permission for other reasons even where the proposed development would be in accordance with the provisions of the local Development Plan.
20. What is the time limit for deciding appeals?
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 18 weeks (e.g. because of delays arising from the holding of an oral hearing), it will inform the parties of the reasons for this and must say when it intends to make the decision.
21. Will I be informed of the Board’s decision?
Yes. Generally, a decision will be made either-
· to grant permission/outline permission with or without conditions, or
· to refuse permission/outline permission
and all parties and observers involved in the appeal will be notified by post. A copy of the Inspector’s Report, the Board’s Direction (e.g. whether to grant or refuse, what conditions, if any, should be attached to a permission, other instructions etc.), and the Board’s decision order is posted on the Board’s website at www.pleanala.ie. The reasons and considerations for the Board’s decision will be included in the decision order and, in any case where the Board does not accept the Inspector’s recommendation in relation to granting or refusing permission, the main reasons for not accepting it.