Will a commercial car park and high wall next door devalue my property?
An Bord Pleanála should have considered this, but you can still lodge objection
“It may still be feasible for you to approach the owner of the adjoining property and articulate your concerns.”
I live in a Dublin suburb and recently (despite objections) a commercial business was granted planning permission to extend their car park into the garden next door.
They will erect a 2.4m wall, running the length of the boundary between the two gardens, but on their side of the boundary line. I feel that this development will devalue my property and wonder if I am entitled to any compensation in this regard.
Incidentally another neighbour owns the leasehold on the property which expressly forbids any commercial development on the site. Is this of any pertinence in this matter?
All planning decisions made by planning authorities may be subject to independent review by An Bord Pleanála (the planning appeals board). I am assuming you have made a valid third-party planning submission or observation to the council and you will now be entitled to make an appeal to the board.
However, in the event that you did not make such a submission, then you may still qualify as a direct third-party objector to An Bord Pleanála. Planning regulations allow a person with an interest in land (eg a landowner/occupier) adjoining the application site to apply directly to the board for leave to appeal the decision of the planning authority without having made initial submissions or observations to the planning authority.
The board may only grant leave to appeal, where (1) a person has an interest in land adjoining land in respect to the application site, (2) shows that the decision of the planning authority to grant permission will differ materially from the application for permission because of conditions imposed, and (3) shows that the conditions imposed will materially affect the applicant’s enjoyment of land or reduce the value of the land. It is notable that a high percentage of such applications for leave to appeal fail because the applicant for leave to appeal does not satisfy the board that he/she complies with the requirements of same.
There are strict statutory time limits for appeals (circa four weeks) to the board and you must comply with all requirements for a valid appeal to be considered. Check the board’s website (www.pleanala.ie).
No challenge may be made to the board’s planning decision other than to its legal validity. A person wishing to challenge the validity of such a decision may only do so by way of judicial review to the Courts.
Will the extension of the car park and the erection of the proposed 2.4m high boundary wall “devalue” your property? To try to answer this question I need to consider the potential impacts on your dwelling: the presence of the extended car park may result in potential excess noise affecting your property, may also restrict sun light into your home/ garden, and the construction of this high wall has the potential to be unsightly.
If the answer to the above is yes, then you may certainly have a cause of action. However, one would expect that the local authority/An Bord Pleanála will have been mindful of your personal enjoyment and use of your own residential property in deciding upon the planning application, even in the absence of a submission or observation from you on the proposed development. A grant of planning permission will generally contain specific planning conditions (some of which may be in your favour, eg increased height of wall) and the developer must carry out all such conditions to the satisfaction of the planning authority.
Notwithstanding the above, it may still be feasible for you to approach the owner of the adjoining property and articulate your concerns to establish if they would be willing to consider providing a wall which is more aesthetically pleasing (eg stone finish, etc), subject to the agreement of the planning authority. In addition, it may be possible to incorporate some landscaping provisions on your side of this new wall to try and screen the commercial look of it.
And if you feel strongly about your loss then it will be necessary to consult with a solicitor to see if you have any grounds for compensation. It is advisable that you discuss the foregoing with your solicitor promptly, as the available options for appeal and legal follow-up will be considerably reduced as the weeks pass and the development commences.
Andrew O’Gorman is a Chartered Building Surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie