At MKO, our Planning team is one of Ireland’s largest and most experienced planning practices, with experience across every industry sector. We provide a full-service suite of planning advisory services for commercial and institutional clients. Every client of ours benefits from the combined expertise of our entire Planning team, gained over decades in both the private and public sectors. We relish the challenge of large, complex projects and have worked on the cutting edge of professional planning practice for over a decade. We managed multiple Strategic Infrastructure Developments, among the first Strategic Housing Developments and have been the lead planning advisors on some of the largest infrastructure developments in the state’s history.

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Planning applications/Project management

We manage the entire planning permission application process or provide key inputs and planning advice. From advice at the pre-planning stage to preparing and managing the planning application or responding to further information requests, we help applicants or their project teams navigate a project through the planning process. We can either lead the planning-phase design team or participate as team members. Our most experienced planners lead the consultations with the Planning Authorities, from the initial concept feasibility discussions to agreeing pre-commencement compliance requirements.

Planning appeals

We compile comprehensive, robust and effective planning appeals or responses to grounds of appeal when a planning application is subject to An Bord Pleanála appeal. We prepare responses to grounds of appeal when a successful planning application must be defended on appeal. Where an application to a planning authority has been unsuccessful, our appeals focus on the planning arguments most relevant to An Bord Pleanála. Every appeal is individually tailored to the particulars of the project and the most relevant planning policy to give our clients the best possible chance of securing their desired outcome.

Development plan submissions

The submissions we prepare for the reviews of Development Plans and Local Area Plans are instrumental in increasing the development potential of sites and properties. Our submissions take account of planning precedents and policy trends to make the strongest possible argument in favour of the suggested policy changes. We assess the planning opportunities or threats of draft planning policy and advise our clients on the planning policy strategy most appropriate to their property assets. Submissions can range from simple letters to more comprehensive report documents relying on primary research we undertake to strengthen the specific case being made.

Planning strategies and masterplans

When planning expertise is required to formulate a planning strategy or masterplan, we develop practical proposals that balance community and commercial interests. Our proposed ideas and approaches are influenced by the experience gained on thousands of projects. We use the current policy as a guide, not a limitation, as we consider an area’s future needs and our client’s requirements. Where necessary, we coordinate inputs of other professionals in areas such as transport planning, urban design, services engineering and landscape architecture to maximise the potential of the vision we develop along with our clients.

Development Potential Reports (DPRs)

Our Development Potential Reports (DPRs) help determine what a site might be able to accommodate by way of future development. We consider the relevant planning policies that govern development standards for a particular area and outline this ruleset under which any future planning application will be considered. We also study recent successful and unsuccessful precedent decisions to ensure every opportunity for maximising the potential of a site is identified and used to inform any proposals brought forward. Our DPRs regularly help inform property and site valuations by identifying a site’s true potential.

Strategic Housing Development (SHD)

The Strategic Housing Development (SHD) legislation requires planning applications for residential developments of 50 units or more and student accommodation developments of 100+ bed spaces to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála. We use all our experience of engaging with An Bord Pleanála on strategic infrastructure developments to help applicants and their strategic housing developments through this process. Given the limited opportunities to submit additional information in the SHD process and the need to demonstrate compliance with planning policy at the initial pre-application consultation meetings, planning inputs on SHD projects are even more critical.

Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID)

Strategic Infrastructure Developments (SIDs) require strategic planning advisors. In this role, we help manage planning risks, reduce application timeframes and maximise the chance of a successful outcome. From the initial pre-determination consultation stage to SID determination, then to the preparation and lodgement of a SID application, MKO has experience across multiple projects at every stage of this process. We lead the pre-determination consultation stage interactions with An Bord Pleanála. We compile the determination requests and prepare and submit the SID applications, ensuring full compliance with all legislative and technical requirements. We help clients and projects through the SID process.

Planning expert witness

Our senior planning team regularly provide planning-related expert witness testimony in legal, planning hearings and CPO proceedings. We establish a thorough understanding of the project or case background, formulate our own expert opinion on the relevant planning issues, consult with and contribute to the project team and critically review other planning arguments being put forward by other parties. Our planning advice and opinions, which are informed by the combined relevant experience of our company’s staff, are compiled into briefs of evidence, which we are confident and competent in presenting and robustly defending in the setting of a hearing or trial.

Feasibility studies

The planning-led feasibility studies we produce consider the opportunities, risks and constraints associated with any given site. This usually involves environmental, ecological and other inputs from our other in-house teams and specialists to provide a fully informed view of what will be required to identify opportunities or secure planning permission for a site or project. They can also include inputs from the property, urban design and other technical specialists where necessary. Our feasibility studies can be focused on a particular type of project. We can consider and help identify opportunities for appropriate uses where a specific end-use has to be identified and are regularly used to market a site to prospective users or other interested parties and build confidence in the merits of a site.

Call us to discuss your next project – 091 735 611

Other services

Planning Strategy

We devise and advise on project planning strategy, helping clients determine the best course of action to take with project phasing, timing and application approach. This strategy advice can be provided on a project level to help chart the right course for a project, or at a strategic level to ensure the necessary and correct policies are in place to support a future project.

Substitute Consent Applications

For projects that cannot avail of retention planning permission, we compile and submit substitute consent applications to An Bord Pleanála. This includes seeking leave to apply for substitute consent, and when that is granted, preparing the application including Remedial Environmental Impact Statement (REIS) and Remedial Nature Impact Statement (RNIS) whenever required.

Part V (5) Compliance

We lead or advise on interactions with Planning Authorities to agree the Part V (Part 5) social housing requirements for residential developments. This can include representing applicants/developers in discussions with Planning Authorities and agreeing the mechanism for how the social housing element of residential developments are to be provided.

Condition Compliance

Following a successful grant of planning permission, we can manage in full the condition compliance submission and agreement process with Planning Authorities. This can involve preparing new additional submissions, or repackaging information already available to ensure a job can proceed in line with a client’s or developer’s project programme.

Retail Impact Statements

Our retail impact statements quantify existing retail floor areas, consider population demographics and projections and build a fully informed case for the need for additional retail space in a locality.

Linguistic Impact Statements

For proposed developments in Gaeltacht areas, we prepare Linguistic Impact Statements where planning policies require the integrity of Irish-speaking areas is protected. Our statements consider the number of Irish speakers in the existing population and look at the potential impact of adding the proposed number of residential units and how the linguistic integrity of the area can be safeguarded.

FRA Sequential Tests

For developments in flood risk areas that are subject to Flood Risk Assessments (FRA), a sequential test is required to demonstrate that no other suitable site outside of flood risk zones could have been selected. When doing so, we take a planning-led, methodical approach to identifying and ranking all other potential sites, to validate the selection of the chosen site.

Site Identification

Where a site has yet to be identified for a project or site, or a developer wants to identify the best available site for a particular development, we use a constraints-led approach to identify the optimum site for a project. Our approach uses detailed GIS mapping to identify constraints and facilitators for developments, and project-specific site selection criteria that will demonstrate the site selection exercise started with a “blank page” approach and ended up with the optimum available site being identified and selected.