Local Area Plans in Irish planning
Since the emergence of planning in
Under section 19 of the act, a local area plan may be prepared in respect of any area, including a Gaeltacht area, or an existing suburb of an urban area, which the planning authority considers suitable and, in particular, for those areas which require economic, physical and social renewal and for areas likely to be subject to large scale development within the lifetime of the plan. But must be made for areas: (1) designated as towns in the most recent census of population, (2) A town with a population over 2,000. Where plans ‘must’ be made, it has to be within two years after a development plan made under the 2000 Act and every 6 years after.
A local area plan shall be consistent with the objectives of the development plan and consists of a written statement and a plan or plans indicating the objectives. It includes details on community facilities and amenities and on standards for the design of developments and structures. It must also contain information on the likely significant effects on the environment of implementing the plan (in line with Strategic Environmental Assessment).
The procedure for the consultation and adoption of local area plans is laid out below (and in section 20 of the Act). A great deal of emphasis is laid on public consultation.
The Local Area Plan Process: A Local Area Plan (LAP) sets out a strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of a specific area within a local authority and for a timescale as specified by the authority. The plan must consist of a written statement and map or maps, which set out the local authorities’ objectives for the plan area. These objectives may relate to any or all of the following:
1. Land Use Zoning & Density
2. Public Open Space
3. Private Open Space
4. Car Parking
5. Provision of Infrastructure
6. Conservation of Built Heritage
7. Conservation of Natural Environment
8. Provision of Traveller Accommodation
9. Community Facilities
10. Design & Development Standards.
The policies or objectives contained in a Local Area Plan must be consistent with the objectives of the Development Plan and must include information on the likely significant effects on the environment of implementing the Plan. A Local Area Plan is a legal document and must be prepared and adopted in a particular manner and within a strict timescale as set out in Part II Section 20 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 and as amended 2002. The Planning Authority must indicate the period for which the Local Area Plan is to remain in force and may at any time amend or revoke the plan.
When considering an application for permission within the boundary of a Local Area Plan, the Planning Authority or An Bord Pleanála must take account of the provisions set out in the LAP. The provisions of any relevant draft Local Area Plan may also be considered.
A Local Area Plan may be prepared by a Local Authority at any time and for any particular part of its’ functional area. Two or more planning authorities may co-operate in preparing a Local Area Plan where the area concerned crosses the boundaries of adjoining authorities. The preparation, amendment or revoking of a Local Area Plan includes periods of consultation during which the input of the public, interested bodies and service providers is invited and welcomed. The making of a Local Area Plan is a reserved function of Elected Members of the County Council (Councillors). The Members can adopt, amend or revoke the Plan following consideration of any issues raised.
The following is a summary of the timescale and processes involved in the preparation and adoption of a Local Area Plan (LAP).
1. Pre-Draft Public Consultation Phase
Prior to preparing a draft Plan, the local authority takes whatever steps it considers necessary to consult the public including public bodies, non-governmental agencies, residents’ associations, community groups, and business interests in the area.
2. Draft Plan Preparation
The draft plan is prepared by the County Council for display taking into account issues raised during the pre-draft consultation phase.
3. Public Notice & Plan Display
An advertisement is placed in national newspapers announcing the preparation of a Local Area Plan. Notice and a copy of the Draft Local Area Plan is also sent to bodies such as the E.S.B., Department of Education and Science, etc, which are called “prescribed bodies.” The Draft Plan goes on display for a minimum period of 6 weeks during which submissions / observations are invited from the public and all interested parties.
4. Preparation of Manager’s Report on Submissions / Observations
This report must be submitted to the elected members of the County Council for their consideration not later than 12 weeks after notice is published in the national newspapers.
5. Manager’s Report Submitted to Elected Members for Consideration
Elected Members have 6 weeks to consider the report and adopt / amend the plan.
6. Amendment of Local Area Plan
If the Elected Members decide to amend the Local Area Plan otherwise than is recommended in the Manager’s Report, the Planning Authority must publish notice of the proposed variation or modification not later than 3 weeks after the passing of a resolution to materially alter the plan.
7. Display of Proposed Variation
The proposed variation(s) of a Local Area Plan must go on public display for not less than 4 weeks. Written submissions / observations received in respect of material alterations to the Local Area Plan are put on public display.
8. Preparation of Manager’s Report on Submissions on Proposed Variation
Manager’s report to be prepared on submissions / observations received in respect of material alterations to the Local Area Plan not later than 8 weeks after notice is published.
9. Elected Members Consider Proposed Variation / Modification & Manager’s Report.
Elected Members to make or amend the Local Area Plan with variation(s) proposed by the Planning Authority or, if different as recommended in the Manager’s report not later than 6 weeks after receiving the report.
A Local Area Plan is prepared with input from many people and organisations including the following:
1. Elected Members of the County Council (Councillors);
2. Members of the Public;
3. Departments within the County Council;
4. Residents’ associations, community groups, non-governmental agencies, etc.;
5. An Bord Pleanála & Prescribed Authorities, e.g. the National Roads Authority, E.S.B. etc.
It is important that everybody who may be affected by the plan is given the opportunity to be involved in this process. A Local Area Plan is a plan, which will govern all development on the plan area for the timescale specified. Everybody including those not directly affected is entitled to give an opinion on any aspect of a Local Area Plan. All written submissions received during the draft display will be considered and reported on in the Manager’s Report.
Making a Submission on a Local Area Plan: All submissions should be clear and concise – to facilitate this, most councils provide a submission form. However, submissions do not have to be made on this form. Submissions can be made at pre-draft consultation phase or during the public display period of the Draft Local Area Plan.
All submissions must be made in writing to the planning Department:
Submissions / Observations should be marked X Local Area Plan and usually may also be made via e-mail to X and should state the name of the person making the submission and where relevant the body represented. For full details see Part II Sections 18, 19 & 20 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 and Sections 8 & 9 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2002.