In an effort to improve the quality and efficiency of processing planning applications and to assist potential developers through the planning process, the Department of Planning offers a pre-consultation service wherein planning advice can be obtained from technical officers.
There is typically no fee to submit a pre-consultation, with the exception of proposals for major development which require an Environmental Impact Assessment which incur a fee of $600.
The pre-consultation process provides the opportunity to obtain feedback from technical officers for particular development proposals on specific sites. Although approval is not guaranteed should the Department support a proposal, a pre-consultation aims to improve the quality of the submission and allow for the formal planning application to be processed more efficiently.
Pre-consultations are treat in confidence and will not be made publicly available by the Department.
A pre-consultation should not be submitted for general information on the planning process; for such queries please refer to the Department’s other Guidance Notes.
A pre-consultation is particularly beneficial for larger and/or more complex development proposals or where it is unclear whether a proposal complies with an applicable policy, such as development affecting Conservation Base Zones and Areas, Protected Areas and listed buildings.
Through the pre-consultation process, the Department aims to:
Once the pre-consultation has been received, it will be assigned a unique reference number and allocated to a planner for assessment; this reference number should be quoted in all subsequent correspondence. The details and status of the pre-consultation, including which officer has been assigned the case, can be viewed on the Customer Self Service portal. A response will be provided by email and the assessment may include a meeting, site visit and/or consultation with other Government Departments.
The Department of Planning aims to provide a response to pre-consultations within 28 days, however this timescale will vary depending on current workload of officers, the nature and complexity of the case and need to consult with other Departments.
Once the Department has provided its pre-consultation response, a formal application for planning permission is likely to be required. Prior to submitting an application, you may also wish to pre-consult with other Government departments depending on the nature of the proposal and site, as will normally be advised in the pre-consultation response from Planning.
It is important to note that the assessment of a proposal during a pre-consultation constitutes the professional opinion of planning officers only. Any written response or comments provided in pre-consultation meetings are done so without prejudice to the formal determination of any subsequent application; planning applications can only be determined by the Director of Planning or the Development Applications Board following full assessment of all relevant details and material considerations.
It should also be noted that the position of the Department may change between the pre-consultation and a formal application if site-specific circumstances or relevant policies have changed, particularly if a notable period of time has lapsed in the intervening period. In such cases, it is recommended that you contact the planning officer to ascertain whether the pre-consultation response still applies prior to making a formal application.