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How to make a Submission or Observation in Relation to a Planning Application

The presence of a site notice is often the first indication that a development is proposed for a particular site or property. What should you do if you want to find out what is proposed for a particular site and how should you go about assessing and then objecting or simply commenting on those proposals…?

The first step is to inspect the planning file which is made up of drawings and other documents.

This can be viewed online or the physical file can be viewed in the planning office.

If you want to comment or object, you have exactly 5 weeks after the Council have actually received the planning application to lodge your submission

Viewing files online:

o The website for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is

for Dublin City Council it is and for Wicklow County Council it is

o You should be able to find the file relating to the application easily enough using the site address. Each application is given a unique ‘Register Reference’ number. This is an important number to note and it is also important to note when the application was lodged and, from this, to calculate the date by which you must have lodged your own submission. Most Councils now, in fact, have online calendars to help with this

o When you identify the relevant Register Reference number, you can open the file to view details of the application

Unfortunately, it can take some time after the lodgement of the application for the documents/drawings to be made available on the website. This means that you may have very little time between being able to view the file online and preparing your actual submission

Viewing the actual planning file in the Planning Office:

There are some advantages in actually going into the planning office to inspect the paper file. These are:

o The file is usually made available for inspection at the public counter fairly promptly after the application is lodged

o It is, in many respects, easier to study drawings in their paper form in front of you rather than in their scanned form on a computer. For example, you can have several large drawings / documents open at once on the desk to study together and compare

o You can ask questions of the staff behind the desk who are usually very helpful. For example, they can help you identify the right planning file in the first place

However, it does mean a trip to the planning office – perhaps into County Hall in Dun Laoghaire or into the Dublin City Council offices at Wood Quay in the city during working hours

Assessing an Application:

You will be looking for any adverse effects that the proposed development will have on your property. These adverse effects may include the overlooking or the overshadowing of your property. The development may generate nuisances such as noises or smells or it may be overbearing. The development may simply be completely out of character or out of scale with the neighbouring properties. There may be other concerns that you may have such as traffic intensification, road safety, or loss of tree cover.

You may of course also want to assess how any adverse effects, that the development may cause, might be mitigated whilst not objecting to the development in principle.

Making a Submission:

If you wish to make a submission on a particular application, certain information must be supplied including the Reg. Ref. number of the subject application, name of person or body making this submission, the grounds or reasons for commenting or objecting, the statutory fee of €20.00 and other items also. If you do not include the required information and fee, your submission will be rejected as invalid

Planning Decision:

The Planning Department are obliged to take your comments into account. Of course, they must balance a whole range of factors: the property owner’s rights and the concept of the common good amongst them. They simply may not agree with the points you make or may not attach the same importance to your concerns as you do. Note that your submission will appear in the public file. You can make the submission in person, by post or online

A very important point to note is that if you do not make this initial submission, you generally cannot then appeal to An Bord Pleanala afterwards - for example against the granting of the application. There are exceptions to this which are listed on the An Bord Pleanala website

Note: The above gives an indication of how to assess a development and to make a submission. it is not intended to be a comprehensive explanation as space does not allow it. You should always get advice appropriate to your particular circumstances.

S J CARROLL & CO ARCHITECTS are experienced in carrying out file inspections and submissions on behalf of our clients. We assess the application and prepare a detailed document for submission on our client’s behalf. Drawings and diagrams are included to support the submissions.

Please contact us at or 086 8293293 if you would like to discuss this further

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