How to Get Planning Permission for Buildings on Green Belt Land in Ireland?

Farnan Culkin
April 2, 2023

Are you struggling with obtaining planning permission for your dream project on green belt land in Ireland? Let us help you navigate the complexities of the planning process and provide you with invaluable insights on how to get planning permission on green belt land.

What is Green Belt Land?

Green belt land refers to areas of undeveloped or agricultural land designated to preserve natural habitats, prevent urban sprawl, and maintain the character of rural communities. In Ireland, green belts are buffers between urban areas and rural landscapes, providing a natural separation to maintain the countryside's tranquillity and protect the environment.

The Purpose of Green Belt Land

Green belt land has several key purposes:

Encouraging urban regeneration

By restricting development on green belt land, planners encourage the use of brownfield sites and other available land within existing urban areas.

Preventing urban sprawl

Green belts help to contain the growth of cities and towns, preserving the countryside and preventing the merging of neighbouring settlements.

Protecting the environment

Green belts provide essential habitats for wildlife, reduce air and noise pollution, and contribute to climate change mitigation.

Preserving local character

Green belts maintain the distinctiveness of towns and villages by preventing them from merging into one large urban area.

The Planning Process: How to Get Planning Permission on Green Belt Land

Though securing planning permission on green belt land can be difficult, it is not impossible. BuildPro, an expert consultation company in Ireland, specialises in helping clients navigate this complex process. Here are the comprehensive steps to follow when seeking planning permission on green belt land:

Step 1: Understand the Policies and Guidelines

The first step to obtaining planning permission is understanding green belt land policies and guidelines. This includes national, regional, and local policies that shape planning decisions and determine the acceptability of your proposed development.

National Policies and Guidelines

National policies and guidelines provide the framework for green belt land protection. In Ireland, these policies are outlined in the National Planning Framework and Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies. These documents guide local authorities in developing their development plans and green belt land policies.

Local Development Plans

Each local authority in Ireland has a Local Development Plan that sets out specific policies for development within its jurisdiction, including green belt land. These plans provide detailed guidance on the types of development that may be permitted and the criteria that must be met. Reviewing these plans to understand the local policies that apply to your project is essential.

Step 2: Identify the Type of Development

When planning a development on green belt land, it's crucial to identify your proposed development type. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out specific categories of development that may be considered "appropriate" on green belt land. These categories include:

  • Agriculture and forestry
  • Outdoor sports and recreation facilities
  • Cemeteries and burial grounds
  • Replacement of existing buildings
  • Limited infilling in villages
  • Limited affordable housing

Understanding your project's category will help you prepare a strong planning application that demonstrates its compliance with green belt policies.

Step 3: Assess the Impact on the Green Belt

A crucial aspect of obtaining planning permission on green belt land is demonstrating that your proposed development will not harm the green belt's openness and its purposes. To achieve this, you will need to provide evidence that the development will not:

  • Result in urban sprawl
  • Encroach on the countryside
  • Merge neighbouring towns and villages
  • Encroach on the setting and character of historic towns
  • Impact the regeneration of urban areas

Step 4: Prepare a Strong Planning Application

A well-prepared planning application is essential for obtaining planning permission on green belt land. The application should clearly demonstrate how your proposed development meets the local policies and criteria and provide robust evidence to support your case.

Consult with Experts

To ensure that your planning application is as strong as possible, it's advisable to consult with experts like BuildPro. Their team of experienced professionals can help you navigate the complexities of green belt policies and provide valuable insights and advice to strengthen your application.

Provide Detailed Plans

Your application should include detailed plans and supporting documents demonstrating the development's need, benefits, and impact on the environment and the local community.

Prepare supporting documentation

This may include site plans, architectural drawings, environmental assessments, and other technical reports. BuildPro's consultation services can assist you in compiling these essential documents.

Step 5: Engage with the Local Community and Stakeholders

Engaging with the local community and stakeholders is crucial to the planning process. It's essential to consult with neighbours, community groups, and other relevant parties affected by the proposed development.

This engagement can help you to address concerns, gather support, and demonstrate your commitment to working collaboratively with the community.

Public Consultation

Organise public consultation events to present your plans and gather feedback from the local community. This provides an opportunity for residents to voice their opinions and allows you to address any misconceptions and alleviate concerns.

Addressing Concerns and Adjusting Plans

Based on the feedback gathered during the consultation process, you may need to adjust your plans to address concerns and ensure that your proposal aligns with local policies and community needs. This can significantly increase your chances of obtaining planning permission.

Step 6: Submit Your Planning Application

Once you have prepared a strong planning application and engaged with the local community, it's time to submit your application to the local authority.

Ensure you provide all the necessary documentation, including the completed application form, plans, and supporting documents. The local authority will then assess your application and make a decision.

Step 7: Respond to Requests for Additional Information

The local authority may request additional information or clarification during the assessment process. Responding promptly and providing the requested information is crucial to avoid delays in the decision-making process.

BuildPro can assist you in addressing these requests and ensuring that your application remains on track.

Step 8: Appeal Process (if required)

If your planning application is refused, you can appeal the decision. The appeal process can be complex and time-consuming, but with the help of expert consultants like BuildPro, you can navigate this process effectively.

It's essential to understand the reasons for refusal and address them in your appeal, providing additional evidence and arguments to support your case.

Let BuildPro Help You Navigate the Planning Permission Process on Green Belt Land

Securing planning permission on green belt land can be daunting, but with the right support and guidance, achieving a successful outcome is possible. BuildPro's expert consultation services can help you navigate the process, ensuring your development proposal aligns with planning policies and has the best chance of approval. If you're ready to take the next step towards realising your green belt development project, contact BuildPro today and let their professionals guide you through every stage of the planning permission process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get permission to build on Green Belt?

While obtaining planning permission on green belt land can be challenging, it is possible with a well-prepared application and expert guidance. Understanding the local green belt policies and identifying any potential exceptions that may apply to your project is essential.

What are the rules for building on the Green Belt?

The primary objective of green belt policies is to protect the openness and character of these areas. As such, new developments are generally discouraged unless they align with specific exceptions or demonstrate that they will not negatively impact the green belt's integrityFamiliarising yourself with local green belt policies and engaging with planning professionals is crucial to maximising your chances of obtaining permission.

How much land is needed for Green Belt?

The size of a green belt area can vary depending on the specific policies and objectives of the local authority. However, a general guideline is that a green belt should be at least 15 acres in size to effectively serve its purpose of preserving the character of the countryside and preventing urban sprawl.

How do I know if my land is in the green belt?

You can consult your local authority's development plan or online mapping resources to determine if your land is within a designated green belt area. These documents will outline the boundaries of the green belt and provide information on relevant planning policies and restrictions.

What is the problem with building on a Green Belt?

Building on green belt land can lead to a loss of openness and character, increased urban sprawl, and potential harm to the environment and local ecosystems. These concerns are why green belt policies seek to balance development with the need to preserve rural landscapes and promote sustainable growth.

How do you remove land from a green belt?

Removing land from a green belt is a complex process that requires a formal review of the local development plan by the relevant planning authority. This usually involves demonstrating that the land no longer serves the green belt's purpose and that alternative development locations are unavailable.Working with planning professionals and engaging with the local community is essential to build support for the proposed changes.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Farnan Culkin

Farnan Culkin is a seasoned expert in the home improvement industry and the proud founder of BuildPro. His passion for home renovation and home extensions has led him to create a platform that educates homeowners, helping them transform their Irish homes into their dream dwellings.