Planning fee to come under review

A proposal by Cavan County Council to increase the cost of objecting to planning applications made by people from outside the area will be considered as part of a “proposed review of planning application fees” by the government department in charge of planning.

Cavan County Council wrote a letter to Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke, following a discussion at the February meeting of the local authority. The councillors recommended that planning objections submitted by those living outside the county should be liable to a €2,000 deposit. The proposal came during a debate on a motion tabled by Cllr Winston Bennett at the meeting.

In a reply to the council's letter Conor Madden, the private secretary to Minister of State, Peter Burke, said: “The fees for making submissions or observations on planning applications and appeals are set at levels intended to prevent frivolous or vexatious submissions, while not acting as a deterrent to persons with genuine concerns or interest in proposed developments from making submissions.”

Mr Madden said: “The current planning related fees payable to planning authorities have been in place since 2002. It is proposed to review the fees involved in the context of the introduction of e-planning (facilitating the online submission of planning applications, appeals and associated fees), the national roll-out of which is to be completed in 2022.”

He concluded by saying: “While the Minister has no immediate plans to amend planning legislation in the manner proposed by Cavan County Council, the views of the elected members have been noted and will be considered in the context of the proposed review of planning application fees.”

Cllr Bennett's February motion suggested a deposit of €2,000 by objectors from outside the county. He recommended the deposit would not be refunded if the objection is overruled.

He described as “annoying” to see the same names repeatedly crop up in objections. The Fine Gael representative pointed to a number of projects stymied by objectors from outside the county.

Reacting to the reply from the Minister's spokesperson, Cllr Bennett said he appreciated the answer, but hoped this would not be the end of the issue: “I am hoping other councils and TDs will see what we are trying to do here is in the best interest of local communities and come in on the back of it. Something needs to be done about vexatious objections from people with no connection with the area in which they are objecting.”

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