2. Pre-application Consultations - section 37B.
There is a mandatory requirement on a prospective applicant for 7th Schedule development to enter into pre-application consultations with the Board. Matters which can be the subject of consultation / advice are set out at sections 37B(3) of the 2000 Act, and article 210 of the 2001 Planning Regulations. These cover issues such as procedures for making the application, timeframes and sequencing of the application process, considerations relating to proper planning and sustainable development and the environment which may have a bearing on the Board's decision in relation to the application, the particular prescribed bodies which should be notified of the applications, and the form of public consultations that should take place prior to lodgement of an application.
On receipt of a request for pre-application consultations, the Board must notify the relevant planning authority (or planning authorities where the proposed application site would straddle different local authority areas) of the request. This notification will consist of a letter describing the nature of the proposed development and a site location map(s).
The Board must keep a written record of any pre-application consultations held. These written records will be publicly available for inspection once the pre-application consultation process has been formally completed.
Following consultations with the prospective applicant, the Board must serve notice on the prospective applicant and the planning authority(s) stating whether, in its opinion, the proposed development is strategic infrastructure.
To qualify for determination as strategic infrastructure, a proposed development must first come within the scope of one or more of the classes and comply with the thresholds contained in the 7th Schedule. In addition, the Board must come to the opinion that the proposed development, if carried out, would fall within one or more of the following: -
- is of strategic economic or social importance to the State or region in which it would be situate,
- would contribute significantly to the fulfillment of any objectives of the National Spatial Strategy or any regional spatial and economic strategy in force in the area,
- would have a significant effect on the area of more than one planning authority.
Prospective applicants will be advised of the importance given by the Board on placing the proposed project in its plan and policy context, particularly the hierarchy of plans, i.e. the National Planning Framework, Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies, Regional Waste Strategies and County, City or Local Area Development Plan.
If the Board decides that the proposed development does constitute strategic infrastructure development, then the application for permission must be made directly to the Board under section 37E of the 2000 Act, as amended. In the event that the Board decides that the proposed development does not constitute strategic infrastructure development, the application must then be made, as heretofore, to the planning authority under section 34 of the 2000 Act.
Prospective applicants will be advised to directly engage in consultation with the local authority in whose area the site is situated and with any relevant prescribed bodies
The Board may consult with the local authority(s) in whose area the site is situated, or with any of the relevant bodies. The purpose of any such consultations will be to identify any constraints that would affect the site and to ascertain whether there are plans or programmes being contemplated or undertaken that would have a bearing on the application.
Where the Board consults with the local authority in whose area the site is situated or with any prescribed body, a record of such consultations will be made and a copy of such record(s) will be given to the prospective applicant. Any such record will also become publicly available for inspection once the pre-application consultation process has been formally completed.
When the pre-application consultation phase has concluded and the Board has issued its formal decision / advice on the request, it will publish its determination in its weekly list of 'cases disposed of' and on its website and make its file available to the public for inspection. Upon the conclusion of the consultation phase, the Board will forward a copy of this file to the planning authority and such file should be made available for public inspection locally. Should an application be made to the Board subsequently for permission, the pre-application consultation file will be attached to the application file.