I propose to take Questions Nos. 734 to 736, inclusive, and 749 to 751, inclusive, together.
Masterplans are not statutory plans in their own right. Accordingly, such plans, and the information sought in relation to the Castlelands Masterplan in particular, are a matter for the local planning authority and, as Minister, I have no direct function in the adjudication of the masterplan preparation process.
The preparation of the Castlelands Masterplan within Balbriggan is a requirement of the Fingal County Development Plan 2017-2023, for lands that are primarily subject to a zoning objective to “Provide for new residential communities, subject to the provision of the necessary social and physical infrastructure.” This requirement is for one of a total of eight such Masterplan areas within Balbriggan under the Fingal County Development Plan.
While Masterplans are not formal statutory development plans under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), they may be prepared in order to set out further technical detail in respect of zoned amenity and/or development lands, to inform future planning applications and/or ‘Part 8’ Local authority consent processes.
Proposals for development set out in Masterplans further to a County Development Plan are required to be consistent with national and regional development objectives and any relevant specific planning policy requirements set out in ministerial guidance. As part of a masterplan consultation process, a planning authority may invite the submissions and observations of interested parties, and this may inform the outcome of the masterplan process.
In cases where a masterplan informs the preparation of a planning application in full or in part, the assessment of any subsequent planning applications pursuant to that masterplan, is the stage of the development process at which the intended outcome of the masterplan, in full or in part, is subject to formal determination by the local planning authority or An Bord Pleanála.
The non-statutory nature of masterplans means that the local planning authority or An Bord Pleanála are not required to be bound by all of the objectives of a masterplan in the determination of a planning application. This is particularly relevant where a masterplan is deemed to be not consistent with national and regional development objectives or any relevant specific planning policy requirements set out in Ministerial guidance.
It remains the right of interested parties to make a submission in respect of any planning application on lands subject to a masterplan and to also make a subsequent appeal to An Bord Pleanála (if submissions have been made to the local authority in respect of the relevant planning application). In the case of strategic housing development (also known as ‘SHD’), for proposals with more than 100 dwellings, there is also provision for submissions to be made by any interested party to An Bord Pleanála as part of the application process.
Under Section 30 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), as Minister, I am specifically precluded from exercising power or control in relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála is or may be concerned.