Planning Consultancy Services specialises in providing informative planning advice and assistance to its clients in the following areas

Planning Applications
Planning Appeals
Planning Submissions / Observations
Appropriate Assessment
Bat Surveys
Bird Surveys
Visual Impact Assessment
Retail Impact Assessments
Environmental Impact Assessment
Linguistic Impact Assessment
Protected Structures
Wind Energy
Enforcement Queries
Village Renewal & Enhancement 
Additional Services

Planning Applications:
This office caters for the preparation of all types of planning applications. This normally involves the project management of the planning application. This includes sourcing of appropriate and cost efficient drawings, the co-ordination of the project team including liaison with the client, the preparation of all required paperwork, negotiations with planning officials (pre-planning meetings) and the preparation of a planning consultants report (planning appraisal) to support the development proposal. This report serves to demonstrate how the planning application is compliant with legislative and planning policy requirements with a view to securing planning permission. Responses are made to further information requests and clarification requests where required.

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Planning Appeals:
‘Planning Consultancy Services’ has extensive experience in dealing with appeals to An Bord Pleanála. Each appeal is researched thoroughly and a detailed and compelling case is made to the Board in each instance. A planning appeal can be made against the decision of a planning authority by the applicant (First Party) or an objector (Third Party) to a decision by the Planning Authority. Appeal work can take many forms and can include:

  • A First party appeal against a decision to refuse planning permission by the planning authority,
  • A First party appeal against conditions imposed on a planning permission by the planning authority e.g. terms of Development Contributions,
  • A Third party appeal against a decision by the planning authority to grant planning permission,
  • A Third party appeal against conditions imposed by the planning authority.

Other Appeal work can include responses to appeals, referrals of declarations (exempted development), representation at oral hearings and Strategic Infrastructure negotiations with Board officials.
Expertise in this area has helped to achieve a high success rate on behalf of clients.

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Planning Submissions/Observations:Image of Plans
Situations can arise where an individual or business runs the risk of being adversely affected by a proposed development. This office can assist clients where there are substantive grounds to object, e.g. potential traffic hazard, adverse impact on residential amenity, non-compliance with planning standards or loss of light. In these circumstances, we are available to prepare comprehensive submissions so that the valid concerns of the client can be clearly assessed by the planning authority.

Appropriate Assessment:

In accordance with the requirements of the EU Habitats directive, where plans or projects are located within close proximity to a Natura Site (e.g. Special Areas of Conservation or Special Protection Areas), there is an obligation to undertake the AppropriatePlans Assessment (AA) Process.

The first stage involves a preliminary assessment known as AA Screening. AA Screening will determine whether the proposed plan or project, alone or in combination with other plans or projects, will have significant impacts upon Environmental Designations. If no impacts are expected, the assessment is complete.

Where AA Screening has identified potential impacts on an Environmental Designation, which are considered significant or unknown, a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) must be completed. The NIS will examine the potential impacts in detail, and suggest mitigation measures to prevent adverse effects.

Planning Consultancy Services in partnership with qualified ecologists delivers comprehensive Appropriate Assessment Screening reports, and Natura Impact Statements in accordance with the requirements of the Planning Authority and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

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Bat Surveys

Bats are common throughout Ireland and all Irish bat species are protected under Irish and European Law. This means it is an offence to deliberately capture, kill or disturb a bat. In addition, it is an offence to destroy a breeding site or resting place of a bat.

Where a development has the potential to disturb bat species, or its feeding or breeding grounds, a bat survey report must be submitted to the planning authority as part of the planning application.

Bat Survey generally consist of:

  • A desktop review to gather baseline information of the study area
  • Daytime inspection of potential roost features which may be located onsite
  • Night time bat detector surveys to assess bat activity onsite

When all relevant data is collected a bat survey report is prepared to detail methodology, results and mitigation measures if applicable. Planning Consultancy Services in partnership with experienced ecologists delivers comprehensive bat survey reports to accompany planning applications.

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Bird Surveys

Ireland is required under the terms of the EU Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) to designate Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for the protection of:

  • Listed rare and vulnerable species
  • Regularly occurring migratory species
  • Wetlands, especially those of international importance

Where a proposed plan or development has the potential to disturb protected bird species, or their supporting habitats, dedicated bird surveys must be conducted as part of the planning application.

Planning Consultancy Services in partnership with experienced ecologists utilise a range of techniques to deliver comprehensive bird surveys. We specialise in:

  • Wintering bird surveys (survey season: September to March)
  • Breeding bird surveys (including Hen Harrier Surveys)

When all relevant data is collected a bird survey report is prepared to detail methodology, results and mitigation measures if applicable.

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Visual Impact Assessments:
Visual Impact Assessment or VIA is an important design tool which demonstrates the likely visual impact of a development proposal. It involves the preparation of detailed photomontage(s) together with a professional assessment of the visual impact. VIA has the potential to reduce, avoid or remedy any likely significant impacts and is becoming an integral part of planning and decision making process. VIA can form a subset of an Environmental Impact Assessment. VIA often includes recommendations for suitable mitigation measures, where appropriate, to assimilate the development proposal into its environment. This office has prepared a number of successful VIA’s in partnership with Visual Lab Ltd. for a range of development proposals from one off houses to secondary schools located in sensitive landscapes. All photomontages are highly accurate and photo-realistic and more than satisfy the requirements of the planning authority.

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Retail Impact Assessments:
In accordance with the provisions of the Retail Planning Guidelines a Retail Impact Assessment (RIA) is often required to accompany a planning application for retail developments e.g. a supermarket, department store, retail warehouse or discount foodstore. The document from this process is called a Retail Impact Statement (RIS). This assessment sets out to examine the impact of the proposed retail development on the vitality and viability of the town centre as well as the impact upon existing retail facilities within the catchment. It involves a detailed planning policy context, statistical analysis / projections as well as the preparation of a sequential test where appropriate. A Retail Impact Statement can also form part of an Environmental Impact Statement. This office has extensive experience in the preparation and evaluation of Retail Impact Assessments for developments all over the west of Ireland.

Glass Building

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This office prepares comprehensive, concise and convincing submissions to Development Zoning ImagePlans and Local Area Plans. Extensive experience has been gathered in both the formulation of Statutory Plans on behalf of Local Authorities, as well as the preparation of submissions on behalf of landowners and Community Organisations. A well prepared submission can assist planning officials and councillors to have appropriate regard to the views of the wider public. This service helps to deliver an effective public consultation process.

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Environmental Impact Assessments:
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process by which the likely impacts on the environment of a proposed development or project are measured. If the likely impacts are unacceptable, design measures or other relevant Environmental Imagemitigation measures can be taken to reduce or avoid those effects. The document from this process is called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The planning regulations list thresholds in which the preparation of an EIS is mandatory. In relation to sub-threshold development the planning authority makes decisions on a case-by-case basis as to whether EIA is required. Planning Consultancy Services is experienced in the co-ordination and delivery of EIS documents for mixed use commercial, educational, quarries and renewable energy developments.

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Linguistic Impact Assessment:
A Language Impact Statement is a report that assesses the likely impact of a significant development proposal on the usage of Irish within the Gaeltacht area. Permission will only be granted where the Authority is satisfied that the effect of the development will be beneficial to the usage of the language in the area. ‘Planning Consultancy Services’ has experience in the preparation of Linguistic Impact Statements as part of development proposals.

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Protected Structures:
Under the planning system many minor works to buildings and structures do not normally require planning permission. These works are known as exempted developments. However, for a protected structure (listed building) such works can only be carried out without planning permission if the works would not affect the character of the structure that contributes to its special interest. This office, in consultation with the local authority, has successfully used the ‘Section 5 Declaration’ process to allow a variety of works to proceed without the requirement for planning permission. Where planning permission is required, this office has demonstrated its expertise and resources to successfully guide ‘protected structure’ projects through the planning process.

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Wind Energy
According to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), it estimates that to meet Ireland’s target for 40% renewable energy sources for electricity by 2020, Ireland will have to generate 6,500 MW (megawatts) of power from wind.   With 1,260 MW already installed, Wind farm on top of green hillswe need about 5,240 MW more power from wind, an equivalent of over 1,000 wind turbines in 10 years.  This poses a significant infrastructural challenge for the Country. Planning Consultancy Services can assist in the delivery of wind farm projects. We have extensive experience with wind farm developments in the public and private sector, including both the adjudication and preparation of wind farm planning applications and Environmental Impact Statements. In particular, we are available to provide expert planning advice on Wind Farm Feasibility Studies, planning applications/appeals as well as submissions to County Wind Farm Strategy’s nationwide

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Enforcement Queries:
Planning Authorities are directing increased resources to their enforcement and building control sections. As such enforcement queries are on the rise. This office assesses each enforcement case, having regard to its individual merits and site history. Advice is provided on how best to respond to warning notices and enforcement notices when issued by the local authority. Submissions to the Council together with the preparation of retention applications where relevant are prepared quickly and efficiently, in order to regularise any unauthorised works on site. This office has extensive experience with enforcement in relation to Advertisements/ Signage, unauthorised structures and Quarries.

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Village Renewal & Enhancement:
The current LEADER Programme 2007-2013 includes the ‘Village Renewal and Development Measure’. Under Village Renewal, works such as pavements, lighting, art, landscaping etc. are eligible for funding. This funding is available to private promoters and community organisations. This office has experience with this Leader measure and offers assistance to community and voluntary groups to avail of this funding and to implement Village Renewal and Enhancement within their respective localities.

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Additional Services:
We offer a wide range of additional services such as submissions to Development Contribution Schemes, Exempted Development Queries, Extension of the life of planning permission, Material Contraventions, Compliance with planning conditions, Outdoor Licensing Events etc. This is not an exhaustive list. If you have any planning query, do not hesitate to contact this office as we are here to assist you with your endeavours.

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