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Written answers

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Local Authority Charges Application

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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223. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will review downwards the fees and contributions charged by local authorities for planning permissions and change of use application for businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42494/14]

Photo of Alan KellyAlan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)
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The Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, prescribe the current planning application fees. Any proposed changes to the fees, which were last increased in 1998, would require the endorsement of the Oireachtas pursuant to section 262 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. While planning application fees are kept under regular review in my Department, I have no plans to reduce the fees at this time.With regard to development contributions, my role as Minister is to provide the necessary statutory and policy framework within which individual development contribution schemes are adopted by each local authority. The adoption of these schemes is a reserved function of the locally elected members of each planning authority. It is a matter for the members to determine the level of contribution and the types of development to which they will apply.

In January 2013 , my Department issued updated guidance for local authorities on the issue of development contributions which recommended, inter alia, that development contribution schemes should endeavour to facilitate job creation through targeted support for specific development types. As part of the new guidance, planning authorities were asked to consider whether there were any measures open to them to support new or existing enterprises in their areas by, for example, reduced development contribution rates, deferred payment arrangements, etc.

In response to the request to review their schemes, all four Dublin Councils have since reduced their general development contribution rates by an average of 26% with other local authorities also lowering their rates.

One of the actions in the Government’s Construction 2020 – A Strategyfor a Renewed Construction Sector, which was published in May 2014 and is aimed at facilitating increased acti vity in the construction sector, is that developers be enabled to avail of reduced development contributions for existing planning permissions that have yet to be activated. Provision for this measure will be incorporated in the forthcoming Planning and Development Bill, the general scheme of which I propose to publish shortly. Under the proposed provisions, developers with planning permissions granted under previous development contribution schemes will be enabled to avail of the reduced development contribution charges being applied under the new development contribution schemes where their permissions have not yet been activated. This measure is intended to assist in making developments more economically viable and bringing them on-stream earlier than might otherwise be the case. It is intended that this Bill will be enacted in early 2015.

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