Submission of planning applications
O’Callaghan Planning can prepare and submit a planning application on your behalf. Services delivered and specifications can be tailored according to each customer’s needs as well as the complexity of the proposal. All applications will be accompanied by supporting information that sets out the planning policies against which your application will be assessed, and a design concept statement will detail how your proposal complies with the relevant planning criteria to ensure that the prospect of obtaining planning approval is maximised.
With the benefit of 12 years professional experience in the Department of the Environment, processing major planning applications, the principal will identify all potential planning constraints, and will ensure that each is addressed in your planning application. O’Callaghan planning will endeavor to proceed only with such cases as are likely to be approved.
Handling planning appeals / Expert Witness
If you, or your client, have been refused planning permission in the last six months O’Callaghan Planning can review your case to ascertain the likelihood of a successful appeal.
Where it is deemed unlikely that a planning appeal would be successful, O’Callaghan Planning can adjust the proposal, as necessary, to ensure that any subsequent planning application is likely to be deemed acceptable.
If proceeding with a planning appeal, O’Callaghan Planning can make minor amendments to your proposal, and will provide supporting information to demonstrate compliance with the planning policy under which your proposal was refused.
The principal has over 12 years’ experience attending planning appeals and can therefore ensure that applicants are appropriately represented in these forums, or that agents are sufficiently prepared to deal with any issues that might be raised at appeals.
O’Callaghan Planning can represent you at a planning appeal, and additionally, expert witness consultancy services can be provided for those who already employed existing agents.
O’Callaghan Planning is aware of the importance of submitting a design concept statement as part of your planning application. Without this statement, the decision-maker will have no understanding of how you actually propose to develop a site. This can result in a planning application being refused because applicants have failed to demonstrate a particular planning requirement, or because it has not been demonstrated that some unacceptable elements would not be required to complete the development.
Design Concept statements can also highlight other important facts that ought to be relevant in the determination of your planning application. This information will be presented in a clear and concise manner, ensuring that the decision-maker is not left to make assumptions about a proposal or request additional information and it will help reduce the prospect of a decision-maker forming the view that a proposal is fundamentally unacceptable. Ultimately, this information will enable the timely processing of your planning application.
Due Diligence / Feasibility Studies / Development Appraisals
In the current economic climate, the property and development sectors are experiencing varying degrees of financial pressure. O’Callaghan Planning can provide a full appraisal of your proposal in order to ascertain the likelihood of obtaining planning permission, based upon the principal’s professional experience processing planning applications and also his knowledge and interpretation of the relevant planning policies and other material considerations that will influence the outcome of the planning process.
These feasibility studies and development appraisals are required in order to avoid submitting a planning application that stands little or no chance of success. Where proposals are reliant upon third party finance, due diligence is necessary to ensure that the element of financial risk is minimised. The company will help reduce financial risk by identifying potential constraints. Existing permissions may need to be reviewed to ensure that the proposer has control of sufficient lands to complete the development (without requiring third party lands).
Where development is purported to have been commenced on previously approved sites, appraisals are necessary to ensure that any works undertaken are in accordance with the planning approval and that any necessary conditions or pre-commencement obligations have been adhered to. Ownership of all lands identified as part of the planning application must also be verified.
O’Callaghan Planning is able to provide a wide spectrum of risk identification and appraisal services to the general public. Confidentiality is assured and the Company can act on behalf of financial institutions, lenders, fixed charge receivers as well as private investors.
Area Plan Representations
The principal is experienced in the field of forward planning, and has first hand experience of the preparation of the Newry and Mourne Area Plan 2015. Recently-elected “Super-Councils” will be responsible for the preparation and adoption of area plans, from 01st April 2015. As part of the forward planning process, it is likely that the new Council’s area plans will be issued for consultation before their final adoption. This will give the general public an important input into the planning process.
O’Callaghan Planning can help maximize your site’s development potential and financial value by making representations on your behalf to have your land zoned for the most suitable land use. Equally important will be the need to attempt to secure alternative zonings where proposals have been zoned for particular uses in a draft area plan. Where your land has been excluded from a draft plan’s settlement limit, O’Callaghan Planning can make representations on your behalf in an attempt to have this designation modified before the final adoption of an area plan.
Negotiating to resolve ongoing planning applications
The Company can carry out an independent review of live planning applications, to identify potential constraints and establish how these can be overcome. Where planning applications have been, or are initially recommended for refusal, O’Callaghan Planning can act on your behalf, as secondary agents, by mediating and negotiating, addressing and overcoming any concerns that have been identified by planning authorities.
Environmental Impact Assessment
Northern Ireland is affected by the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (NI) 2012. Many areas within Northern Ireland’s countryside and indeed urban settlements are designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or are affected by other environmental designations. Development in these sensitive areas is required to be “screened”, upon the submission of a planning application, for possible environmental impacts. If your local planning authority determines that a planning application is required to be accompanied by an Environmental Statement, the application will automatically require to be accompanied by an additional fee, currently set at £10,632 (as at 28th May 2014).
O’Callaghan Planning can help you ascertain whether an application is likely to require to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement.
Quotations for Environmental Impact Statements can be made upon request.
Regularising unauthorised development
While the general public have various “permitted development” rights, which are conferred by current planning legislation, planning permission is frequently required for new development. Planning permissions granted are typically subject to conditions.
Where the planning authorities have identified breaches of planning control, such as the failure to comply with conditions attached to a planning approval, the failure to obtain the necessary planning permission, or development that is otherwise not in accordance with planning permission, O’Callaghan Planning can act on your behalf to resolve these difficulties.
Breaches of planning control can be resolved by obtaining retrospective planning permission if necessary, by obtaining Certificates of Lawful Development for existing uses or developments that are immune from enforcement action or by negotiating with the relevant authorities to satisfy them that breaches are actually permitted development, are immune from enforcement action or are not expedient to pursue.
Where planning authorities issue an enforcement notice or a breach of condition notice, landowners (and in some cases the occupiers of land) are required to carry out remedial actions to comply with the said notices. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is an offence and the planning authorities are obliged to initiate summons proceedings for non compliance with enforcement notices.
Landowners are advised to lodge appeals against enforcement notices, otherwise the notices take effect on the date specified (for remedial action to be completed).
Landowners are also advised that there is no right to an appeal against a breach of condition notice, hence it is important to strictly adhere to the terms of a planning permission.
Where there is no prospect of obtaining planning permission to retain unauthorised development landowners may have no alternative but to comply with an enforcement notice.
You are advised to contact O’Callaghan Planning with any queries in this regard given the significant financial penalties that can be imposed for planning offences (up to £100,000), the ultimate risk of jail sentences, and also the risk of having to remove unauthorised development, or having the planning authorities remove it at your expense.
O’Callaghan Planning has a number of key contacts in the fields of planning and property development. With an extensive client base, O’Callaghan Planning is ideally suited to locate appropriate sites with development potential and match these with the needs of investors or developers. If you are seeking premises or lands for development purposes please do not hesitate to contact O’Callaghan Planning.
O’Callaghan Planning holds details of a number of clients’ sites or lands that are intended for sale, and sites which may be affected by adverse finance. Investment opportunities are typically, but not exclusively, located in the South Down and South Armagh areas. If you wish to obtain information on any development opportunities please do not hesitate to enquire with this office.
General Planning Advice
Please note that the above list of services tendered by O’Callaghan Planning is not exhaustive. Should you have any other nature of planning query, regardless of the scale of the proposal, please do not hesitate to contact this office.