Dáil Éireann - Volume 619 - 09 May, 2006
Written Answers. - Planning Issues.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if local authorities can insist on the completion of housing estates in accordance with the planning acts; if he intends to introduce legislative changes to ensure compliance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16875/06]
Mr. Roche Mr. Roche
Mr. Roche: Under the Planning and Development Act 2000 a person who has carried out unauthorised development is guilty of an offence: unauthorised development includes development which is not carried out in accordance with the terms of the planning permission. A planning authority may issue an enforcement notice in connection with an  unauthorised development requiring such steps as it considers necessary to be taken within a specified period. Substantial penalties are provided for on conviction for an offence under the Act. Section 160 of the Act also provides that a planning authority may apply to the Circuit Court or the High Court for an order requiring that a development be carried out in accordance with the permission.
The Planning Act also allows a planning authority to attach conditions to a planning permission requiring the satisfactory completion within a specified period of a proposed housing development and the giving of adequate security for the satisfactory completion of the development. With regard to housing estates, planning authorities have been advised by my Department in the past, and again in Circular Letter PD 1/06 of January 2006, that their policy in this area should include the provision of an acceptable level of security by the developer, which will not be released until the estate is completed to the specified standards.
Accordingly it is clear that planning authorities have very substantial powers to compel the completion of housing estates by developers in accordance with the terms of the planning permissions. Additionally, in the Strategic Infrastructure Bill, which has just passed committee stage, I propose to amend section 35 of the Planning Act to enable the planning authority to refuse permission to a developer who has been in substantial non-compliance with a previous planning permission. The applicant will have to apply to the High Court if he or she wishes to have the decision overturned. This will be a reversal of the current position as set out in section 35, whereby a planning authority wishing to refuse permission in such a case must obtain the authorisation of the High Court.
Dáil Éireann 619 Written Answers. Planning Issues.