Irish Planning Myth #6 Make as many changes as you like;just send a letter into Council as a minor amendment…
Now this one has really perplexed me; and I’m still unsure whether it’s really a myth or not. So any help is much appreciated.
So let’s go through the steps…
1. You get your planning permission
2. You start building
3. You decide to make changes
4. Someone then says either:
a. You don’t need to worry about that or/
b. Just send a letter into the council saying its a minor amendment and they’ll send a letter back saying it’s OK.
Now I think the myth occurs that this ‘minor amendment letter’ is getting confused with a Section 5 Declaration where:
Under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000-2002 any person, on payment of the prescribed fee, may request in writing from the planning authority a declaration as to what in any particular case is or is not exempted development within the meaning of the Act.
So is a simple letter from the Council worth anything? I think not. If a complaint is made and enforcement gets involved then as a colleague once said ‘Love letters from the council don’t mean anything’ and enforcement still has to investigate. And even if such letters did exist (and are acceptable) I doubt very much that you will find any Council currently taking this type of responsibility and sending them out.
So how close does a development have to be to the drawings? Well this is called by the certifying person as it needs to be substantially compliant and this is defined as:
“Substantial Compliance with the Planning Orders” means that:
[a] the Relevant Development is constructed in accordance with the said Planning Orders saving and excepting
such minor deviations which in my opinion do not constitute a contravention of the proper planning and
development of the area as expressed through such Planning Orders and the Development Plan, and
[b] such minor deviations do not warrant the issue of enforcement proceedings by the relevant Planning Authority as
provided for in the Planning Acts.
But this is only an opinion and another architect,engineer, surveyor etc… may have another opinion. If you’re interested in reading further then CLICK HERE FOR AN EXCELLENT DoE PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DOCUMENT
Let me know if you think different to the above…
All advice online is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support – in and of itself – should legal action be taken. Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.