Your local authority is responsible for planning in your area. The main instrument they use to regulate and control development is the Development Plan. Each planning authority is required to publish notice of its intention to review its plan, not later than four years after the making of their existing plan. A new plan must be made every six years (ie. two years after this notice has been published).
The plan states the authority's policies for land use and for development control and promotion in its area. The authority, in making decisions on planning applications, must consider the provisions of the Plan, and try to secure its objectives.
Development Plans show a local authority's objectives for the sole or primary use of particular areas (eg residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural), for road improvements, for development and renewal of obsolete areas, and for preserving, improving and extending amenities.
Public participation in making the Plan is important.
The public can become involved in the making of the development plan, at the initial stage, when the planning authority publishes its intention to review the plan, at the draft plan stage and, if applicable, at the amended draft plan stage.
At all these stages, the public can make submissions or observations, within specified time periods, on what is being proposed by the planning authority at all these stages. Notice of the making of the draft plan is published and the draft plan goes on public display for at least 10 weeks, during which time the public may make submissions on its content. Any submissions received within the specified period must be considered before the Plan is adopted. Before a plan is adopted, copies of the draft must be sent to various statutory and voluntary bodies who may be able to give the authority specialist advice.
The Development Plan process is set out in Sections 9 to 17 inclusive of the Planning and Development Act, in guidance notes on these Sections and also in the Development Plan Leaflet (PL8).