Planning authorities must include a record of Protected Structures in their Development Plan. Where a structure is designated as protected, the generally applicable exempt development regulations, are severely limited or totally dis-applied. There is no compensation for refusal of planning permission nor for the imposition of the conditions in a planning permission, for architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical reasons. There are special provisions in relation to the acquisition of protected structures.
A structure may be a building, excavation or other thing constructed in, on or under land. A structure may, where the context requires, include the land under it, the interior of the structure and its curtilage and other structures lying within the curtilage. If may include the interior, exterior, fixtures and fittings. In the case of a protected structure which is a Church or place of public worship, the liturgical requirements are to be respected. The structure or a specified part of it may be included in the Record of Protected Structures. Specified features of the structures may be recorded and protected.
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht may make recommendations to planning authorities regarding the inclusion of particular structures, in the Record of Protected Structures. The Authority is to have regard to the recommendation. If it ignores the recommendation, it must give reasons to the Department. The legislation provides for guidelines to be applied by local authorities when designating protected structures.
Entry on Record
The Development Plan is to include a record of protected structures. The record is to include details of the structure itself, its location, maps and other requisite information. Amendments to the Development Plan include additions to and deletions from the Record of Protected Structures.
The particulars of the addition or deletion of a Protected Structure from the Development Plan, is to publicised in accordance with the general procedures for making and amending the development plan. Submissions and observations may be made regarding the proposal, and these must be considered in the final decision.
The registration of a protected structure may be registered as a burden against land in the Land Registry.
The effect of entry on the Record of Protected Structure is that the carrying out of works on or to a protected structure or a proposed protected structure is exempted from the requirement for planning permission, only in so far as they do not materially affect the character of the structure or the element of the structure which contributes to its special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social, or technically interest. Accordingly, where the interior is protected, the general exemption for interior works would not apply to works affecting the protected elements.
Declarations and Applications
The owner or occupier of a protected structure may make an application to the planning authority for declaration as to whether it considers that proposed works would materially affect the character of the protected structure or any element of it. The authority must give a decision within 12 weeks. It must have regard to guidelines prepared by the Department and to recommendations made to the planning authority by the Department.
The planning authority may review a declaration, provided that it may not affect works done in reliance on it. There is a right to refer the decision on a declaration to Bord Pleanala. This must be done within four weeks of the declaration. The declaration procedure takes precedence over the more general procedure for referring work or a change of use for a declaration of exemption.
The existence of a protected structure is relevant to decisions on planning permissions affecting the structure, or the structure of which it is part. Applications for permission may be refused or be subject to conditions which preserve the protected structure.
An owner or occupier is obliged to ensure that a protected structure is not endangered. Development consisting only of the type of works for which the declaration itself is made or works for which planning permission is granted are not deemed to be endangerment. It is a defence to prove that the works are urgently required to secure preservation of the structure, that they were undertaken in good faith for the purpose of temporarily safeguarding it and are unlikely to permanently alter the structure.
A notice may be served by the planning authority on the owner or the occupier where it considers it necessary to prevent the structure from becoming or continuing to be endangered. A restoration notice can be served, specifying works required for restoration. In the latter case, the planning authority may pay the expenses reasonably incurred in connection with carrying out the works, other than those relating to an unauthorised structure, which were undertaken within the previous seven years. The authority may provide assistance in relation to an endangerment notice. This may be financial, advisory or material.
Where a restoration or endangerment notice is issued, representations may be made to the authority, before it becomes final. The authority must take account of the representations. There is provision for appeal to the District Court. The District Court may confirm, vary or annul the notice. The grounds of appeal include
- that the person is not the owner or occupier of the structure;
- that compliance would involve unreasonable expense and that the person has represented to the authority that he does not have the means to pay;
- that he has taken all reasonable steps to prevent the structure from becoming or continuing to be endangered;
- that he has taken steps to restore the character of the structure; or
- that the time for compliance is unreasonably short.
It is an offence not to comply with a notice. The planning authority may, in this case, enter and carry out the works itself. It may take such steps as are necessary to do or arrange to carry out the works. The cost of the works may be recovered as a contract debt from the owner and/or the occupier.
An owner who has been served with a notice may enter the premises, notwithstanding, for example, that a lease may be in place. An application can be made to the District Court, where a person served with a notice is unable, without consent to carry out the works required. The District Court may give the requisite consent.
A Planning authority may acquire a protected structure compulsorily or by agreement. The procedures applicable are broadly similar to those in respect of other compulsory acquisition powers. Notices are served, to which objection may be made. Where an objection is submitted, the planning authority must obtain the consent of Bord Pleanála, which may grant or refuse the consent.
The sanitary authority in exercising its functions in relation to dangerous buildings and derelict sites must consider the protected status of the structure and whether a restoration or endangerment notice might be more appropriate.
Architectural Conservation Areas
Local authorities may designate architectural conservation areas where the structures or group of structures have a special heritage value or contribute to the appreciation of protected structures. They must compile a register of such structures.
Planning authorities may (and in some cases must) designate architectural conservation areas if it is of the opinion that this is necessary to preserve the character of the place, area, group of structures or townscape. The effect of designation is that the exempt development regulations, insofar as they refer to work to the exterior of the structure are limited. Works may be exempted if they would not materially affect the character of the area.
The existence of designation is relevant on applications for planning permission. It must be considered as a relevant factor by the planning authority and by Bord Pleanála. The planning authority may acquire property compulsorily or by agreement. There is no compensation for refusal of planning permission or the imposition of a condition, where it arises from adverse effect on the architectural conservation area.
The area may be designated if the character of place, area, group of structures or townscape is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or its contributes to the appreciation of protected structures. This may be so, even if the individual structures do not have the requisite merit, provided the area as a whole has it.
The planning authority may compulsorily acquire property within the architectural conservation area, where it is of the opinion that it is necessary to do so in order to preserve the character of the area, where the condition of land or its use detracts or is likely to detract from the character of the area or its acquisition is necessary for the development or renewal of the area or for provisions of amenities. The power does not extend to a dwelling house lawfully occupied.
Areas of Special Planning Control
Planning authorities may designate an area of special planning control, where it considers it to be of special importance, due to the civic, architectural, historical, cultural or social character of an urban area. The schemes must be in accordance with the development plan or local area plan.
A special planning control area may be made where a planning authority is of the opinion that all or part of an architectural conservation area, is of special importance to the civic life or the architectural, historical, cultural or social character of a city or town, in which it is situated. The scheme remains in force for a period, which may be renewed. The scheme must indicate the objectives which are to be implemented and their order of priority.
Where an area of special planning and control is designated, exempt development which breaches the special planning control scheme is not exempted. The designation is also relevant on an application for planning permission to the planning authority or Bord Pleanála.
The planning authority may serve a notice on the owner or occupier requiring special specified measures to be taken to restore, demolish, remove, alter, replace, maintain, repair the structure, discontinue its use or subject it to conditions. This notice may be appealed to Bord Pleanála.
The procedure for designation of a special planning control area is broadly similar to that in respect of the adoption of the development plan. The planning authority is required to give notice of the proposed scheme to various parties and prescribed entities. Notices must be published in newspapers and otherwise. Owners or occupiers affected must be notified, where scheme includes an objective or relating to
- coordination, upgrading or changing specified shop frontages;
- control and layout of specified areas,
- density, building lines and heights of structures and the treatment of spaces around and between the specified structures;
- control of the design, colour and materials of specified structures;
- promotion of the maintenance, repair and cleaning of specified structures;
- control of the use of specified structures;
- the discontinuance of use of a structure;
- development or redevelopment of specified derelict or vacant sites; or
- control of specified advertisements or exhibition of specified advertisements.
The notice should specify the measures which are required to be undertaken in relation to the structure, in order to ensure compliance with the proposed objectives.
The scheme must be kept open for submissions and observations. The Manager is to prepare a report on submissions or observations, giving details of submissions, lists of observations, summaries and the response of the Manager / authority. The elected members, after considering the scheme, the report may approve the scheme, with or without modification.
The planning authority may serve a notice on an owner or occupier requiring measures to be taken for the restoration, demolition, removal, alteration, replacement, maintenance, repair or cleaning of a structure. It may require discontinuance of use. An appeal may be made to Bord Pleanála against the notice.
The notice specifies the requirements and measures to be taken and invites observations within a period. It may invite the person addressed to enter discussions with the authority within a specified period. It may specify the period within which, unless otherwise agreed, the measures are to be taken. It may state that planning authority is to pay the expenses recently incurred in carrying out the steps, other than expenses relating to unauthorised development undertaken within the last seven years.
The planning authority after considering representations and discussions may confirm, amend or revoke the notice. There is a right of appeal to Bord Pleanála. This must be undertaken within eight weeks.
The notice may be enforced. Failure to comply is an offence. The planning authority may enter the premises and do the requisite works itself. An application may be made to the High Court or Circuit Court for an order directing a person to comply with the notice, desist from works or doing things in breach of it. Planning permission is not required in respect of development required by the reason of the notice.
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