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Can a B&B ignore a 1993 planning ruling?

November 2016


A four-bedroom residential house was bought in 1990 and converted to a 15-room house for use as a bed and breakfast. The County Council planners only allowed four rooms to be used, but an appeal to An Bord Pleanála overruled the Council decision and granted six rooms.

Needless to say, all 15 rooms were used in contravention of ABP’s decision, unfortunately never enforced by the council. Following the property collapse of 2008, new owners are now in the planning process of major internal and external structural alterations to facilitate nine self-contained apartments.

What is the current status of ABP’s decision in 1993 in the original granting of six rooms in relation to the fresh application for nine apartments? Is it still enforceable or now defunct, or is the Council legally bound in any way to enforce that planning decision? Are there any roadblocks we ordinary residents can use to halt this abomination?


The 1993 An Bord Pleanála decision is now irrelevant in planning terms and in the context of the current planning process for conversion of the former 15-room bed and breakfast property to nine self-contained apartments. The seven year statute of limitations would apply. The An Bord Pleanála decision is no longer enforceable and is indeed defunct; the Council cannot at this stage be legally bound to enforce the 1993 decision.

You mention “roadblocks” and presumably are referring to options open to local residents in terms of the proposed current conversion plans for the property. Under planning legislation you are entitled to either independently or collectively make observations to the Council on the grounds as to why you are not happy with what is proposed in the current conversion application. You may not be happy for a multitude of reasons, for example based upon the increased traffic that may be generated by nine apartments.

However, in this instance you also need to be mindful that as what is being proposed is the conversion of an existing structure certain observations, for example that the height of the building will have a negative impact on an adjoining property, may not be considered relevant by the planners as the structure will have existed at this height for many years (assuming of course that the current conversion plans do not propose increases in height).

Should planning be granted by the Council again independently or collectively as residents you will be entitled to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála on the payment of the associated appeal fee.

John McNally is a Chartered Planning and Development Surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland,