Written Answers. - Planning Legislation.

Seamus Brennan

Question:

68 Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for the Environment the views, if any, he has on the need for legislation to amend the Planning Acts, in order to legally prevent developers or their agents or third parties from demolishing or partly demolishing buildings for which no permission exists, and on which they can subsequently obtain a dangerous buildings order requiring them to demolish, shore up or restore the building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8997/95]

The Local Government (Planning and Development) Regulations, 1994 provides that planning permission is required for the demolition of a building or a structure listed in the development plan or the draft development plan; for the demolition of a habitable house; where a building forms part of a terrace; where a building abuts a building in separate ownership; or where the demolition would be in breach of the terms of an existing planning permission.

Where development needing planning permission is being undertaken without permission, it is open to the planning authority or any member of the public to apply to the Circuit Court or the High Court for an order requiring the development to cease and, in so far as is practicable, requiring the land to be restored to its former state. Where development is being undertaken in contravention of a permission, the Court may require any person to do or not to do, or cease to do, anything the Court considers necessary to ensure development is carried out in conformity with the permission. There are, in addition, other enforcement powers available to local authorities under the Planning Acts, and a range of heavy penalties is provided for. A person convicted on indictment is liable to a fine not exceeding £1 million, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both a fine and imprisonment. Where an offence is tried summarily, a maximum fine of £1,000, and a maximum term of imprisonment of six months, applies.

The enforcement measures available to planning authorities are capable of being used to deter, or to penalise, where appropriate, contraventions of planning law and I have no proposals to change them. It is, of course, a matter for the local planning authority concerned to decide whether any particular building in its area should be listed for preservation in its development plan.