Planning Tip #1: Don't participate

As I promised in the last post the next series of posts will give tips on the planning process and how to survive it.

The first tip therefore is that unless you really, really need planning then don’t participate in the planning process.

A couple of examples:

We have recently moved into a new office and applied for planning permission for some minor works to the shop front. By making a planning application you give the opportunity to the Local Authority to open a can of worms that you may not need to open. So what’s in the ‘can of worms’?:

• The Council can ask for items outside of the remit of the planning application, these could have nothing whatsoever to do with what you are looking for and will cost you time and money.

• The Council can ask for contribution fees; my bill to the Council is thousands for bringing new life and business into a derelict building

• You are being punished for participating in doing the right thing

A solicitor (no names) rebuked me for applying for planning permission on the office, If I can get away without it then don’t apply. This is what every shop (apart from mine) is doing across Ireland.

Example 2:

A client came to me to open a restaurant in an existing building in a Mayo town.

I applied for planning permission as it was required as part of the franchise.

The planning was refused as the Council wanted to demolish the existing building (which incidentally didn’t have anything to do with the Council) and build a nicer building.

A few months go by and a new tenant (not my client) opened a restaurant in the same building, selling exactly the same type of food. Without planning permission and with no enforcement from the Council

My client has been punished for trying to go the right route.

So in summary, unless you really, really need to get planning permission then leave well alone and don’t open that can of worms.

More tips to follow on avoiding planning and how to deal with planning and appeals in due course…


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.

It is an offence to carry out any work that requires planning permission and the offence can carry very heavy fines and imprisonment. You can find out whether your work requires planning permission via a Section 5 Declaration to the Local Authority

4 thoughts on “Planning Tip #1: Don't participate

  1. Hey Mark,
    Jesus I wept reading your post. I think I expressed my sympathy the other day for clients who enter the system or process because it is getting harder and harder. Maybe fair enough, our ‘planning’ system has been too lax and loose for far too long.
    However my sympathy is more to do with clients having to watch others go unheeded in floating planning, fire and dac laws left, right and centre with no action form Local Authorities practically ever. We all know they only act when a complaint is received and only then because they have too. It is absolutely galling and huge problem. Your client with the restaurant must have wanted to just tear his hair out. It is livelihoods and families at stake at the end of the day and those that do right who should get on, and be assisted in doing so as far as practicable by Local Authorities, and not those who do wrong. I completely agree with you anyway.

    1. Hi David

      I agree, as well as the client’s livelihood it also includes me, the environmental scientist (doing the percolation test), the Structural Engineer that’s having their livelihood affected.


      ps Grammar is fine 🙂

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