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A Guide To Making A Planning Application

In order to assist the public in making a valid planning application that complies with the regulations, Sligo County Council has produced this web page "A Guide to Making a Planning Application". The Guide contains information about applying for planning permission, and setting out clearly the information required on submitting a formal planning application.

This Guide is intended as a Practical Guide. It is not a definitive legal interpretation of Planning Law. The Law governing the planning system is set out in the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) and Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (as amended). Extensive information on Planning Law and Regulations can be accessed via the Department of the Environment Website. Please note that the law may be updated from time to time. The Planning and Development Act 2000, provides that planning permission is required for all development other than that exempted by statute and regulations. The word Development is defined as "the carrying out of works on in over or under land or the making of any material change in the use of any structure or other land".


Types of Permission

There are four types of permission, namely,

  • Outline Permission,
  • Permission following Grant of Outline Permission,
  • Permission and
  • Retention Permission.

Outline Permission:

Where a person wants to initially find out if permission will be granted for a particular development, but is not in a position to submit the exact plans then outline permission is most suitable. The grant of Outline Permission states that the Planning Authority is in agreement in principle to the proposed development, subject to the submission of an application for "Permission following grant of outline permission" (Permission Consequent).

Permission following grant of Outline Permission (Permission Consequent):

This type of application follows the grant of an Outline Permission and must be submitted within 3 years of the grant of outline permission. It provides for the submission of detailed plans and drawings of the proposed development.


This type of planning application provides for the submission of detailed plans and full particulars of the proposed development. 

Retention Permission:

It is an offence to carry out any work that requires planning permission, without planning permission, and the offence can carry very heavy fines and imprisonment. However, if a genuine mistake has been made, it is possible to apply for retention permission to retain an unauthorised development. However, this approach should not be relied upon to avoid seeking planning permission before starting work, as you may not necessarily be granted permission for retention or may be required to carry out costly modifications.


Who Can Make A Planning Application

To submit a formal planning application the applicant must have sufficient legal interest in the site or property in question.

If you are not the owner, you should state the name and address of the owner and submit written consent from the owner(s) to make the application.

To Obtain Planning Permission

To obtain planning permission you must make a planning application to the Planning Authority for the area where the proposed development is located. In the case of County Sligo, Sligo County Council is the Planning Authority for the County.  The planning application must be made in accordance with the requirements set out in the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) and the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (as amended)

Choosing An Architect/Agent

Very few people go through the whole planning process without availing of the services of an architect or agent at one stage or other. This may take the form of having someone act as your 'agent' and deal with your application in its entirety. In such cases all correspondence will issue to you at your agent’s address thus enabling them to deal with any problems that may arise.

All of the necessary information to be submitted with any application should be included on the plans/drawings. It is essential that whoever you choose is familiar with the relevant Development Plan, Planning Regulations and Planning Law and who is also familiar with the specific requirements of the Council as regards traffic safety, public health, design standards, etc.

Pre Planning Consultations

Sligo County Council provides a service free of charge to persons considering making a planning application for a particular site, whereby they can avail of a face to face meeting with the local Area Planner who will advise them on the relevant policy issues and procedural requirements in advance of a detailed application being prepared.  To make an appointment please contact the Planning Section on 071 9114451.  The normal waiting period is less than two weeks.  You will need to provide a site location map when attending for the meeting.

Preplanning Consultation Form (PDF) - 161 kbs - 161 kbs

Can Other People Comment On A Planning Application

Irish planning legislation gives very strong emphasis to third party rights. Consequently, the process of the planning application has three parties, the Planning Authority, the applicant and the general public. This is supported by the general right of any person to see a copy of your application and to make written submissions or observations to the Planning Authority and/or to appeal the Authority decision to An Bord Pleanála. (Under the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, submissions or observations must be made within the first five weeks of the planning application, and a fee of €20 paid). The Planning Authority must ensure that applications are fully documented and descriptive of the proposed development, so that the impact of proposals can be understood by all parties.

How Long Will It Take To Get Planning Permission

The Planning Authority is obliged to make a decision on a valid planning application within 8 weeks of receiving it, unless a further information request is issued. If the initial documentation submitted is not correct the application must be invalidated and returned to the applicant as incomplete. When the Planning Authority issues a decision, there follows a period of 4 weeks, within which the applicant or a third party can appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála. Where no appeal is lodged within the 4 week period the Planning Authority issues the "grant" of permission.

Appeals to An Bord Pleanála

Appeals of planning decisions made by Planning Authorities are dealt with by an independent body called An Bord Pleanála. Once a decision on a planning application has been made by the Planning Authority, it can be appealed to An Bord Pleanála by the applicant or a third party who has made a submission to the Planning Authority in relation to that application.  In certain circumstances adjoining landowners who had not previously made a submission can apply for leave to appeal the decision, this must be done within 2 weeks of the decision being made.  A comprehensive guide to making a planning appeal  is available on the An Bord Pleanála website which also provides access to details of current and past cases nationwide.

Making A Valid Planning Application

In the process of making a valid planning application you must describe the proposed development for both the Planning Authority and the general public. This is done by

  • Completing the Application form
  • Submitting maps/plans/drawings for the proposed development
  • Supplying other relevant documentation (detailed below)
  • Paying the appropriate fee

To ensure that your application is valid the detailed questions in the application form must be completed accurately and be accompanied by all of the required maps, plans, and supporting information along with the correct fee as prescribed in the Planning and Development Regulations.  The Planning Authority is obliged to validate all applications and to return any applications which are incomplete or inaccurate. 

Documentation Required

Together with the planning application form, the following documentation must be submitted with your application.

Planning Application Form (PDF) - 208 kbs - 208 kbs  

Planing Application Form (DOC) - 223 kbs - 223 kbs



It is a requirement of the Planning Regulations that a copy of the site notice and the relevant page of the approved newspaper notice be submitted with each planning application. The site notice must be placed on the site for 5 weeks from the date of receipt of the planning application. If it becomes illegible or is removed, it must be replaced immediately as failure to do so will delay the processing of the planning application. Where a subsequent application is made within 6 months on the same or part of the same site, the site notice must be on a yellow background.


You must submit six copies of the site location map to a scale of not less than 1:1000 in built up areas and 1:2500 in all other areas, and marked or coloured so as to identify clearly the land or structure to which the application relates and the boundaries thereon (subject site to be outlined in red, overall land holding to be outlined in blue, any wayleaves in yellow). The location of the site notice should be indicated on this map. Site location map should be on Ordnance Survey map with the number of Ordnance Survey map clearly indicated thereon, together with the north point.

Ordnance Survey Map Store

The nearest licensed outlet to sell ordnance survey maps, digital or otherwise to members of the public is located at:

The Map Store 
Chapel Street, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

Telephone:            +353 (0)94 9023569
Fax:                      +353 (0)94 9023728

General email:

Purchase Maps Online

The Ordnance Survey sell Planning Packs and other maps directly from their online shop.




It is a requirement that six copies of site layout plan be submitted, drawn to a scale of not less than 1:500 (unless agreed with the planning authority prior to the submission of the application). The site boundary should be clearly marked in red and the plan should show buildings, boundaries septic tanks and percolation areas, bored wells, significant tree stands, and other features in the vicinity of the land or structure to which the application relates. In this regard all such features within 100m of the proposed development should be indicated. The position of the site notice should also be shown. 


  1. Except in the case of an application for Outline Permission, six copies of detailed structural drawings of floor plans, elevations and sections and such other particulars as are necessary to describe the works or structure to which the application relates, must also be submitted. These must be drawn to a scale of not less than 1:200 (unless agreed with the planning authority prior to the submission of the application).
  2. Drawings of elevations of any proposed structure shall show the main features of any buildings which would be contiguous to the proposed structure if it were erected.
  3. Plans relating to works comprising, reconstruction, alteration or extension of a structure shall be so marked or coloured as to distinguish between the existing structure and the works proposed.
  4. Plans and drawings of floor plans, elevations and sections shall indicate in figures the principal dimensions (including overall height) of any proposed structure and the distances of any such structure from the boundaries of the site.


Original ordnance survey sheets must be submitted (except where a licence has been issued by the Ordnance Survey Office to the agent).

  1. Any map or plan which is based on an Ordnance Survey map must indicate the relevant Ordnance Survey sheet number.
  2. The north point must be indicated on all maps and plans, other than drawings of elevations and sections.
  3. Plans and drawings must indicate the full name of the person who prepared them.
  4. Plans and drawings of floor plans, elevations and sections shall indicate in figures the principal dimensions (including overall height) of any proposed structure and the distances of any such structure from the boundaries of the site.
  5. The site layout plans and other plans must show the level or contours, where applicable, of the land and the proposed structures relative to Ordnance Survey datum or a temporary local benchmark


Where on-site wastewater treatment is proposed, applicants must submit information on the on-site treatment system proposed and evidence as to the suitability of the site for the system proposed.  Applicants are advised that Policy P-RHOU-3g of the current Sligo County Development Plan states that it is the policy of Sligo County Council that all proposed on-site wastewater treatment systems shall comply with the EPA document Code of practice for wastewater water treatment and disposal systems serving single houses (2009).   


Where proposals relate to the construction or change of use of buildings for the housing of animals or for the erection of silage pits or feeding yards, the following information should be submitted.

Advice on farm development generally is available from your local Teagasc Office or the Department of Agriculture


Details of your proposed compliance with the requirements of the Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) must be submitted with your application. If your proposal is on residentially zoned land, and is for 9 or less housing units or 0.1 hectares of land you may be exempt, but you must have been granted or applied for a Section 97 Certificate of Exemption Application Form (PDF) - 146 kbs - 146 kbs  from the Planning Authority before you make your planning application. If your proposal is for more than 9 houses or on an area greater than 0.1 hectares of land, particulars of an agreement on the provision of Social /Affordable Housing should be submitted with your application. This agreement should be made with the Housing Section of Sligo County Council.


Every planning application must be accompanied with a fee, unless the Planning Regulations specifically provide for exemption. For more detailed information about planning fees please see Planning Fees section 


It should be noted that the documentation lodged with a valid planning application is retained on file and is available for public viewing on the County Council website -