Unauthorised Structures and Derelict Sites

Unauthorised Development is development and / or use of a structure that is in breach of the Planning Laws.  Exempted Development is development for which planning permission is not required. You can also make a complaint about Derelict and Dangerous structures or places. 

Exempted Development

Exempted Development is development for which you don’t need planning permission. Generally it includes developments of a minor nature like :

  • Building of an extension ,shed, garage, boundary walls etc, within the curtilage of a dwelling house subject to conditions and limitations (see below)
  • In the case of a Protected Structure and or structures in an Architectural Conservation area works that do not affect the character of particular structures or specific parts of particular structures or specific features within the attendant grounds of particular structures may be exempted development. However you should apply to the Local Authority for a written Declaration as to the type of works which it considers would or would not materially affect the character of the structure or of any element of the structure.
  • Some changes of use, except in the case of a protected structure. 

Full details of exempted development provisions including conditions and limations is contained in Schedule 2,Part 1 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, S.I. 600 of 2001 which is available on www.irishstatutebook.ie

Unauthorised Development

Unauthorised Development is development and /or use that is in breach of the planning laws. We have a responsibility to ensure enforcement of the planning laws known as Planning Enforcement.

A development is unauthorised when:

  • Planning Permission is required and has not been obtained.
  • Planning Permission has been granted but the development is not been carried out in accordance with the plans lodged or conditions of the planning permission granted.
  • It does not comply with all the conditions and limitations to qualify a development as exempt.

If you want to make a complaint about unauthorised development fill in the Planning Enforcement Complaint Form and send it back to the address below. Please read the attached notes carefully before sending the form to us.

FAQ'S

Planning Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

When is a development unauthorised?

A development is unauthorised when:-

  • Planning Permission is required and has not been obtained
  • Planning Permission has been obtained but the development has not been carried out in accordance with the approved plans and/or conditions attached to the Planning Permission
  • It does not comply with all of the conditions and limitations to qualify as exempt development

What is exempt development? 

Exempt development is development for which Planning Permission is not required. It generally relates to developments of a minor nature such as:-

  • Works of improvement, maintenance or other alterations that affect only the interior of a structure
  • Works that do not materially affect the external appearance of a structure
  • Building of an extension, shed, garage, boundary walls, etc. within the curtilage of a house subject to conditions and limitations
  • Certain changes of use of commercial premises

Full details of exempted development may be found in Section 4 of the Planning & Development Act 2000, Articles 6 – 10 and Schedule 2 of the Planning & Development Regulations, 2001.

It is important to note that most exemptions do not apply to structures that are included on the Council's Register of Protected Structures or that are situated in an architectural conservation area.

How can I find out if a development has Planning Permission?

You can inspect the Planning Register in the Planning Department. This can be done in person by calling to the public counter in the County Hall. You can also perform a search using our online Planning Applications search and view utility by clicking here. 

What should I do if I think that there is a breach of the Planning Regulations? You should submit a Planning Enforcement Complaint Form to the Planning Enforcement Section.

Contact details are: Planning Enforcement Section, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main Street, Swords, Co Dublin. 

E-mail:    plannningenforcement@fingal.ie

What information do I need to provide when making a complaint?

You should provide the exact location of the site (a site location map if possible), details of the suspected breach, details (where known) of the property owner/occupier/developer, the date the development began, your own name & address and a daytime contact number. Be assured, complainant’s details are treated with the greatest confidence and are not released to any third party and are not included in the Council’s Planning Register. 

How can I be of assistance during the investigation?

  • By supplying as much relevant and accurate information as possible
  • By keeping a log of dates, times and other relevant information in cases where an unauthorised use is intermittent
  • By agreeing to give evidence and/or to sign a sworn affidavit, if required  

What are the statutory time limits for taking Enforcement Action?

Under the Planning & Development Act 2000, as amended enforcement action must be taken within seven years of commencement for development that commenced on or after 11 March 2002. Action must be taken within five years for development that began before that date.

Therefore the Council is now precluded from taking enforcement action in respect of development that occurred before 11 March 2002. 

If I breach the Planning Laws unintentionally, what should I do? 

If you think that you are in breach of the planning laws, you should contact the Council’s Planning Department to discuss rectifying the situation. Even if the development is outside the time frame for taking enforcement action, it remains unauthorised and could have a negative impact on the value of the property. In addition, further works that may normally be considered exempt (such as alteration, repair or renewal) may not be carried out to an unauthorised

structure or a structure whose use is unauthorised. It is in the interest of every property owner to ensure that any unauthorised development is regularised.

Derelict site

Is any land which detracts, or is likely to detract, to a material degree from the amenity, character or appearance of land in the neighbourhood of the land in question because of;

  • the existence on the land in question of structures which are in a ruinous, derelict or dangerous condition, or 
  • the neglected, unsightly or objectionable condition of the land or any structures on the land in question, or
  • the presence, deposit or collection on the land in question of any litter, rubbish, debris or waste, except where the presence, deposit or collection of such litter, rubbish, debris or waste results from the exercise of a right conferred statute or by common law.

If you want to report a derelict site fill in the Derelict Sites Complaint Form and send it back to us at the address below.

Dangerous structure

A dangerous structure is;

  1. is any building, wall or other structure of any kind or
  2. any part of, or anything attached to a building, wall or other structures of any kind that, in the opinion of the sanitary authority in whose sanitary district it is situate, is or is likely to be dangerous to any person or property. 

Protected Structure

Each owner/occupier has a duty to ensure that protected structures both interior and exterior are protected from endangerment. A protected structure is one where the owner/occupier has been issued a notice from the Planning Authority telling them that the structure has been added to its record of protected structures. 

Damaging a protected structure is an offence.
If you want to make a complaint about a protected structure it must be made in writing, and sent to us at the address below.

Contact Us

Post: Fingal County Council
        Planning Enforcement
        County Hall
        Main Street
        Swords
        Co Dublin
        K67 X8Y2

Email: planningenforcement@fingal.ie