The largely ‘paper based’ planning application system here in Ireland is due to be fully digitised by the end of 2022, which should bring relief to many developers, home builders and architects across the country.
The new system has been under development since 2014 and has come under fire for taking so long to bring to fruition. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said, “The ePlanning project which is currently being developed seeks to integrate the IT systems of the 31 planning authorities using a single online portal allowing for the online submission of planning applications, appeals, submissions and associated fees. Once fully rolled out, ePlanning will provide an online option for the public to engage with the planning system, in addition to the paper-based system.”
Although the rollout is due by the end of 2022, some agencies including the Department of Housing are more optimistic and have said they hope the system will be up & running by the end of Q2 2022.
Currently, planning applications are the responsibility of the 31 city & county councils across the country, with only a few exceptions being accepted online. The hope is that the new system will expedite the whole process and allow users the ability to check on their application regularly through the new central portal which will manage all applications.
One of the main problems with Irish planning law is that literally, anyone can lodge an objection, in any part of the country. This has led to significant delays in many cases, most notoriously the Apple Data Centre in Athenry debacle. The tech giant backed out of the deal as a result, but the case still went through the courts.
It is unclear exactly what level of public participation will be facilitated on the new online system, but details should become clearer in time.