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Press Release for Immediate Release – 1st April 2020

Covid-19 Update – Carlow County Council Services – Planning Services

Public Consultation Period on Planning Applications Extended
On Sunday 29th March last the Government approved a number of orders, under Section 9 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid 19) Act 2020 relating to the periods for public consultation, exempted development and enforcement. The main change involved is the extension of the statutory public consultation periods in the Planning Acts by an additional 3 weeks and two days from the date of the order, covering the period to 20th April next. The impact on the time taken to process a planning application is as follows:
• If a planning application was lodged on or before 21st February last, the public participation phase is completed, and so Carlow County Council can make a decision within the extended deadline;
• If a planning application was lodged after that date, but before 29th March 2020, the decision cannot be made until after 20th April next to ensure that the public participation element has been completed;
• Any planning application lodged after 29th March cannot be decided by Carlow County Council until the five-week period for public consultation on the application has expired, which will now be 26th May next.
• The planning authority will have the normal period of eight weeks, together with an additional period of up to three weeks and two days i.e. up to eleven weeks and two days in total, to determine a planning application.
Appeals to An Bord Pleanala:
• Decisions made by Carlow County Council may be appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The appeal period is extended by the duration of the Order. During the period of the Order where the planning application was submitted to Carlow County Council at least five weeks prior to the date of commencement of the Order, an appeal may be made to An Bord Pleanála. The four-week period in which the appeal may be made, shall be extended by up to the period of duration of the Order remaining on the date of the decision.
The Order has the effect of extending the timelines within which decisions can be made under the following:
• The Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended;
• The Derelicts Sites Act, 1990;
• The Vacant Sites Levy; and
• Strategic Housing Developments.
These are unprecedented times. The announcements by An Taoiseach on 27th March, as part of the escalating measures to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, introduced considerable restrictions on movement: People have been asked to remain at home, with older and vulnerable people cocooning and others only leaving their home for certain essential purposes.
Given these new restrictions, it is important that the public participation periods in the planning system are extended to ensure that the integrity of decision making is upheld.
This also means that Carlow County Council can continue to operate the planning system through these new restrictions, subject to adherence to public health advice.
Planning applications can continue to be made by post and submissions can continue to be made by post and electronic means.
Pre-planning advice is being provided by email correspondence where appropriate.

Carlow County Council’s response will continue to be informed by advice from the HSE and Public Health Authorities.
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