What We Offer

Planning Consultations

Planning Applications

Planning Statements for Planning Application

Planning Status Reports

Exempted Development Assessments

Protected Structure Assessments

Planning Appraisals

Extension of Duration Applications

Planning Appeals (For Application)

Planning Appeals (Against Application)

Planning Applications (Large Residential)

Group or Community Objections

Strategic Infrastructure Development

Development Plan Submissions


Environmental Impact Statements

Strategic Environmental Assessments

Expert Witness

1. Planning consultations

If you need to speak to a planning consultant, BPS is available to discuss your planning issue. We normally ask for an outline of the issue or case, spend some time reviewing the issue or case, and then meet with you in person or via a web-based meeting. Examples of what we have been consulted:

  • At all stages of a planning applications and appeals
  • On whether planning permission is required for a given development
  • On whether to buy a site or a property
  • On whether a development is exempt from planning permission requirements or not
  • On whether to object to or to appeal a planning application decision
  • On wording a development description
  • How to address A Further Information request
  • On whether to take judicial review following a decision made by An Bord Pleanála
  • On enforcement cases

2. Planning applications

BPS provides a wide range of planning consultancy and development services to our clients, however, we specialise in the preparation, co-ordination and lodgement of planning applications.

We prepare planning applications for lodgement to the relevant local authority. We work on small (e.g. house extensions, sheds, signage, etc.), medium (e.g. changes of use, new house applications, etc.), large (new apartment schemes, mixed use schemes, commercial schemes, etc.) and very large planning applications (e.g. Strategic Housing Developments, Infrastructure schemes, etc.).

In the past 20 years, the making of a planning application has become increasingly complex and onerous as new legislation and regulations are regularly issued. We ensure that this complicated work is managed in an expert manner. This work involves ensuring that your planning application form is completed correctly. That your site and newspaper public notices are correctly worded. That your planning application is properly prepared and presented. That your planning application is lodged on time.

During a local authority’s assessment of a planning application further information can be requested. We work closely with clients to ensure that such requests are properly addressed. Our aim is to try to work through the planning process as quickly as possible and to respect a project’s budget.

We have extensive experience of working as key members of multi-disciplinary project design teams, ensuring that the best results for our clients are delivered.

We provide a project management, planning strategy and expert advice role on each planning application we are involved in.

We have a good working relationship with local authorities, and we are committed to delivering the best solutions for each client’s planning needs. We have considerable experience in the preparation of planning appeals and responses to An Bord Pleanála including providing expert advice at Oral Hearings.

3. Planning statement to accompany planning applications

Our most common form of work is to provide clients with a planning statement to accompany their planning application which tries to address all the planning issues that can arise in planning applications whether small or large.

Such reports set out all relevant national, regional, and local planning policies which apply in a given case and show how the project insofar as is possible complies with these policies.

Such planning reports ensure that your project is presented to the local authority’s assessing planning officer by your own qualified and experienced planner.

Examples of our planning statement reports are available on request.

4. Planning status reports (Due diligence reports)

There are many reasons why you or your firm might need to determine the planning status of a property. For example, when buying or selling a property you need to be sure that all parts of it maintain planning permission.

We offer a full due diligence report service whereby the planning status of a given property is ascertained in respect of properties, landholdings and developments. Such reports would involve consultation with the relevant local authorities, review of previous planning permissions, ascertaining compliance with planning permissions and relevant conditions. We will also review development plan policies such as the zoning, the density (site coverage, plot ratio, etc.) in addition to planned development and infrastructure for an area.

5. Exempted development assessments

There is a wide range of development which does not require planning permission. Exempted development is development for which planning permission is not required.  BPS can advise you on whether a given development needs planning permission or not. For example:

  • House extensions
  • Renovations to a house
  • Changes of use of properties and/or buildings
  • Urban and rural sheds
  • Solar panels
  • Signage

Sometimes you may need to bee able to prove your development is exempt from planning permission requirements. In accordance with Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, any person may request a declaration as to whether development is exempt. In such instances, BPS can make an application on your behalf to the planning authority, to determine whether a proposal requires permission or is considered exempted development.  If you are not satisfied with the local authority decision, we can appeal it to An Bord Pleanála on your behalf.

6. Assessments of whether you need planning permission for works to a protected structure

Section 57 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, allows for the owner or occupier of a protected structure to apply to the planning authority for a declaration as to the type of works which it considers would or would not materially affect the character of the structure or any element of the structure. The declaration will clarify which works would be considered exempted development.

BPS has carried out many of these assessments for clients and we can offer our experience to you if you are unsure of whether your proposed works to your protected structure property needs planning permission.

7. Planning appraisals (or planning feasibility studies)

The planning issues which arise in deciding whether to carry out a given development can be complex and multi-faceted. There normally comes a point when questions arise as to whether planning permission is required ‘and’ if planning permission would likely be granted.

BPS frequently undertakes planning appraisals on the part of property owners, prospective purchasers, and lending institutions to ascertain the planning situation and future development potential of land and properties.

In such cases, BPS will listen to your proposal for a given site or property and then assess in detail in the manner that a local authority planning officer would. We will provide you with detailed report which sets out the areas where the proposal may or may not be planning compliant. We will then set out a conclusion and a recommendation.

Such reports can:

  • Give you or your business a firm the confidence to proceed with a project knowing that, subject to addressing matters identified by BPS, you are likely to obtain planning permission.
  • Prevent you or your business starting out on a project and then being refused planning permission having spent considerable time and money.

8. Extension of Duration Applications

Most planning permissions last 5 years. In the last year of the planning permission your or your business can apply to extend the planning permission.

BPS can advise on the legislative and regulatory provisions governing the extension of the duration of a planning permission to, inter alia, facilitate the extension of a permission, which was not commenced. BPS has prepared many successful applications, for minor to major schemes, for extension of duration of planning permissions.

9. Planning appeals in favour of a planning application

When a planning application is refused a decision must be made as to whether an appeal should be lodged against the decision. BPS can inform these decisions by reviewing a case and giving an opinion on whether the appeal would or would not be successful. If we consider an appeal can be successful, we may recommend revisions to your planning application which would support An Bord Pleanála in over-turning the local authority’s decision. If we consider a planning appeal would not be successful, we may recommend re-applying to the local authority with a revised project.

In the event an appeal proceeds, we provide a full appeal service in which we research and write an appeal report which aims to address the reason or reasons for refusal arising in the case. Drafts of this report are provided until you sign of on a final version.

We then administer the appeal by providing a cover letter; completing the necessary appeal form; organising payment of the fee; taking responsibility for delivering the appeal on time; ensuring the appeal is valid and then managing all appeal correspondence.

When your appeal decision is issued, we will contact you to discuss this, and what happens next.

Examples of our planning appeals reports are available on request.

10. Planning appeals against planning applications

If you have objected to a planning application but this is eventually granted planning permission by a local authority, you may decide to make a planning appeal. We have worked with many clients over many years to lodge planning appeals in such instances. While many find it easy to travel to their local authority to make an objection and some local authorities even accept emailed objections, a planning appeal is more complicated and more time pressured.

We provide a full planning appeal service for such situations. Whether we are emailed or called by someone considering making an appeal, we provide a full explanation of what is involved and set out what our work would involve. Clients often want us to understand the issue, so we will meet them online or in person to discuss the case.

If we are appointed to carry out the appeal, we attempt to make the strongest possible case we can against the decision made by a local authority. We do so by reviewing the planning application and setting out all the planning concerns that arise in the case and then show how the case may be non-compliant with national, regional, and local planning policies. Drafts of this report are provided until you sign off on a final version.

We then administer the appeal by providing a cover letter; completing the necessary appeal form; organising payment of the fee; taking responsibility for delivering the appeal on time; ensuring the appeal is valid and then managing all appeal correspondence.

When your appeal decision is issued, we will contact you to discuss this, and what happens next.

Examples of our planning appeals reports are available on request.

11. Planning applications for large residential schemes such as SHDs

In 2017, Strategic Housing Developments (SHDs) were introduced. These schemes are large housing developments. They may change names from time to time, but planning applications will continue to be made for large residential schemes into the future.

Since the introduction of Strategic Housing Developments (SHDs) in 2017, BPS has worked on SHD applications for clients.

BPS’s role in these applications would involve; pre-planning and planning applications, meetings, social infrastructure assessments, opinion responses, input on EIARs, statements of material contravention, statements of consistency, coordinating and compiling applications and planning reports.

BPS is a wholly reliable planning consultancy for in handling these large scale and complicated applications, in a time conscious manner.

12. Group or community objections against large residential schemes

In 2017, Strategic Housing Developments (SHDs) were introduced. These schemes are large housing developments. They may change names from time to time, but these are the high density, often tall, schemes which represent significant change for communities.

BPS has undertaken objections to SHD schemes for a variety of clients, throughout the country, including student housing, built-to-rent and shared living developments.

This has amounted to over 20 objections for groups of fellow residents of a road or area, residents’ associations, management companies and businesses.

Our role in these objections has involved reviewing these large-scale planning applications – all with copious and difficult to interpret drawings and most with Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIARs), statements of material contravention, statements of consistency, design statements, planning reports, transportation reports, ecological reports, arborist reports, etc. – and setting out detailed grounds for objection to those areas of a given scheme which a client or clients may be concerned over.

We remove the stress from the process by providing an upfront explanation of what is involved; carrying out the work in a timely manner; providing drafts of the objection report for review; and printing and submitting the objection to An Bord Pleanála.

13. Strategic Infrastructure Development

Since 2007, planning applications for proposed strategic infrastructure development are not submitted to the local planning authority but instead they are submitted to An Bord Pleanála for a decision.

BPS has worked with applicants for SID projects and for individuals and communities who want to make submissions in respect of SID development proposals which may impact on them.

14. Development Plan Submissions

BPS is a leading expert in preparing zoning, development plan and local area plan submissions. We carry out detailed discussions with the relevant planning authority to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients.

If you wish to make a development plan submission, please call BPS and we can discuss our previous experience in your local authority area.

15. Enforcement

If you have been contacted by a local authority about alleged unauthorised development, BPS can advise you on this and help you to formulate a response.

If you wish to complain about unauthorised development, BPS can advise you on the process involved and help you to try to resolve the matter.

Unauthorised development relates to developments and/or uses that are in breach of the planning laws. This is also known as Planning Enforcement. A development is unauthorised when;

  • Planning permission is required, has not been obtained and the development is not exempt.
  • Planning permission was granted but the development is not being carried out in accordance with the plans lodged or conditions of the planning permission granted.

16. Environmental Impact Statements

BPS has considerable qualifications and experience in preparing, managing, and coordinating environmental impact statements (EIS) to support a wide range of planning applications including major urban and rural development projects.

17. Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment

BPS is fully qualified and experienced in carrying out Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA).

BPS can also provide advice on Appropriate Assessment as now required under Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive.

18. Expert Witness

BPS has expertise in acting as expert witness at planning hearings and judicial review proceedings. The practice has represented many clients at oral hearings held by An Bord Pleanála, including road and rail projects, various GAA projects, residential schemes, and commercial developments. The practice took the lead in preparing detailed précis of evidence, coordinating consultants, presenting the evidence to the Board and cross examination.

Brendan Buck, Managing Director at BPS, has acted an expert witness in many judicial review cases both for and against development projects. In the event you require a planning consultant to act as expert witness in such proceedings, please call BPS to discuss our previous work in this area.