Planning appeal process is falling further behind

It can take up to two years to get planning permission for a house in rural Galway – not helped by An Bord Pleanála’s failure to tackle the backlog of planning appeals.

That’s according to Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, who claimed that it can take a couple of years to get a decision on appeal. The Connemara TD said that there were even cases dating back to 2019 still to be adjudicated on by the Planning Appeals Board.

“There are plenty of cases that are going back a couple of year ago. This is totally unsatisfactory, and they are not major cases,” he said.

“You could be looking at knocking down a house and replacing it or building a one-off house, but these are not huge developments or anything like that.

“We need a legal bill putting on a time limit in which appeals are either heard or allowed. That, of course, will take into account the size of the particular application.

“There is, of course, no penalty or is there is no consequence if the Board do not allow an appeal.

“I know knocking down a house and rebuilding has its own problems and difficulties, but we are not talking about major development.

“At one stage there were just five members of the Board required but now there are 15 and it means some former members have been brought back to deal with house extensions and other applications,” added Deputy Ó Cuív.

But the Galway West poll-topper said that this was still not enough, given number of appeals that have been received since last January alone.

And these do not take account of a number that are awaiting a decision having lodged their planning appeals during 2020, 2021 and 2022.

With appeals outstanding back to 2020, this, he says, means that no impression is being made on the backlog of appeals even for appeals relating to single houses and refurbishments.

This is despite a statutory objective being in the law on making a decision on all appeals within a four-month period.

“At the moment, they are just dragging their heels on making a decision,” Deputy Ó Cuív said.

Pictured: Unacceptable delays…Éamon Ó Cuív.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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