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Observation (SHD): After you make your observation

This page explains for members of the public what happens after you make your observation

After you make your observation

Have I made a valid or invalid observation?
After we receive your observation, we will check that it meets the statutory requirements to be a valid observation. If your observation does not meet these requirements, it is invalid. Next, we will send you a letter to tell you that we have:

  • received your observation, and
  • found your observation to be valid or invalid.

What do I need to do next if my observation is valid?
If your observation is valid, you do not need to do anything else at this point. During the application process, if we write to you, please follow the instructions or advice in the letter. If you need help following the instructions or advice, you can contact us. Please quote the case reference number on the letter, so we can identify your case.

What happens if my observation is invalid?
If your observation is invalid, we will return all your documents to you as soon as we can. We will refund your fee by cheque to the postal address you have given us. You can re-submit the observation only if you can fully meet all the statutory requirements. For example, if you want to make your observation again, you will need to make sure that this is within the five-week period to make an observation. We cannot accept late observations for any reason.

Why is my observation invalid?
The observation is invalid as it does not fully meet all the statutory requirements as described in this guide such as:

  • it is received outside of the five-week time period allowed to make an observation,
  • it does not include the required fee.

What does An Bord Pleanála do next?
An inspector will consider your observation and all documents on the application case file. They will visit the site of the proposed development to gather more information and take photographs for their report. The inspector may wish to see the site from your property. If this is the case, we may contact you to make arrangements for the site visit.

After the site visit, the inspector prepares a report and recommendation for the Board. The Board will then make a decision based on all the documents on the case.

What is the time limit for deciding applications?
The Board has a statutory objective to try to decide cases within 16 weeks. This period will not be extended unless an oral hearing is held.

When the Board makes a decision, we will send you a letter and a copy of the Board Order to let you know the decision. 

Can I withdraw my observation?
Yes, you can withdraw your observation any time before a decision is made. You must write to us and state that you wish to withdraw your observation. We cannot refund your fee.

Will the Board still consider my observation if the applicant has withdrawn their application?
No. If the applicant withdraws their application, there are no longer any observations to consider.

Can the Board dismiss an observation?
Yes. The Board can dismiss an observation where it is satisfied that the observation is:

  • vexatious: intended only to annoy or disturb,
  • frivolous: lacking in seriousness,
  • without substance or foundation,
  • made just to delay the development,
  • made to secure the payment of money, gifts and considerations by anybody, or
  • made by a person who cannot be identified (in the Board's opinion).

Where can I find out more information on the Strategic Housing Development process?
You can find further information in our Section 4 Applications to An Bord Pleanála: Guidance for the Public guide and other information on our website