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Planning enforcement DCC - are complaints anonymous

  • 10-04-2014 7:45pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 393 ✭✭ derb12


    I am considering making a complaint to the DCC about a neighbour's renovation of a house on my road. 3-bed semi, new extension out the back and over garage. I had no problem with what they planned and got permission for and will probably do something similar down the line.
    However, they have deviated from their planning permission in a few ways - the most serious being a large dormer window on the rear of their attic which looks over my garden. The gardens are long and skinny so since the neighbours at the end of the garden are far away, they probably don't mind.
    They bought the house and renovated straight away so i don't know them at all. I'm thinking in years to come, our kids could be pals, I could be friends with them like I am with lots of others on the street and they would never know that I was the one who snitched to the council.
    Or would they? I've read on the DCC website that if you contact planning enforcement your details aren't divulged but that they will not act on anonymous "tip-offs". How well do they guard your name I'd like to know? Is it possible that my neighbours could find out who reported them?
    Has anyone any experience of this? I know that the DCC can't go chasing around the city on random tip-offs from any old busy body - but it feels unfair that I have to put my name to a complaint like this. Do the councils ever just do spot checks?


Comments

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,300 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    Yes 100%.
    They complainant can't be released even under the freedom of information act IIRC.

    But just remember, you must make the complaint in writing or by email to the planning enforcement section.

    The enforcement section only act on complaints or referrals.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,689 ✭✭✭ fclauson


    yes you can complain in confidence but the fix might be that the council ask them to submit for retention


  • Registered Users Posts: 393 ✭✭ derb12


    Thanks for the replies, folks.
    I'm still undecided as to what to do.
    If they do have to apply for retention, I don't think I'd be prepared to publicly object, so they might get retention anyway.
    I wish the council just did spot checks the way they supposedly do to confirm that planning permission signs are located correctly.
    Thanks again - I'll continue to wrestle with my conscience!


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,300 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    derb12 wrote: »
    Thanks for the replies, folks.
    I'm still undecided as to what to do.
    If they do have to apply for retention, I don't think I'd be prepared to publicly object, so they might get retention anyway.
    I wish the council just did spot checks the way they supposedly do to confirm that planning permission signs are located correctly.
    Thanks again - I'll continue to wrestle with my conscience!

    They do check cite notices. Fact. A photo must be taken and attached to the file to prove beyond doubt that the site notice inspection too place.

    In regards to planning enforcement, they act on tip offs, referrals and complaints from the public.


  • Registered Users Posts: 37 ✭✭✭ Ramonapixie


    hi there, it is confidential as others have said, however you could approach a public rep and ask them to make the complaint for you. if you dont fancy that you could get a family member/friend to make it either. there isnt anything wrong with that. BTW i heard just this week that DCC take complaints over the phone and investigate all queries so you could just chance it and call them first. they may well guess who made the complaint but they will never know for sure.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,300 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    BTW i heard just this week that DCC take complaints over the phone and investigate all queries so you could just chance it and call them first. they may well guess who made the complaint but they will never know for sure.

    I'm afraid you heard wrong. DCC do not take planning enforcement complaints over the phone. They only take them in writing or by email and the complaint must include a name and address of the complainant for future correspondence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 267 ✭✭ coathanger


    If you don't want your neighbour to know that you have made the complaint,get somelse to make it on your behalf.A friend of mine wrote to her local council about a similar situation & the council scanned her letter with her address & contact details & pasted it on the planning section under the relevant planning number,major trouble ensued following that issue ....:eek:


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,689 ✭✭✭ fclauson


    kceire wrote: »
    I'm afraid you heard wrong. DCC do not take planning enforcement complaints over the phone. They only take them in writing or by email and the complaint must include a name and address of the complainant for future correspondence.

    suggest you read http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Planning/FileDownLoad,31564,en.pdf


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ daesal


    I know that this is an old thread but just in case anyone is reading for help.

    A planning complaint can be seen by the person you make it against. as it is personal information relating to the person complained against.

    Under the 1997 Freedom of Information Act

    From the Planning Website :

    "However, this information is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 as amended and accordingly may be subject to disclosure. In exceptional circumstances, this information may be subpoenaed by a Court. More information on Freedom of Information is available here".


    From the Freedom of Information Website:

    "ABOUT FOI

    General Information

    It is not possible to seek records held by other FOI Bodies through the Freedom of Information Central Policy Unit (CPU) in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. If you want to access records held by a public body you must apply directly to that public body.

    What is Freedom of Information?

    The Freedom of Information Act 2014 gives you the right to access records held by FOI bodies. FOI bodies must give you an explanation if you are not given what you asked for and the decision must normally be made within 4 weeks.

    What can I ask for?

    You can ask for any of the following.

    • Any records relating to you personally, whenever created
    • All other records created after the effective date

    What is a record?

    A record includes a book or other written or printed material which is in any form including in any electronic device. It is a map, plan or drawing, a disc, tape or film which contains visual or non-visual images or a copy of any of these.

    Do I have to pay for getting information under FOI?

    When the request is for personal information there are no charges unless there is a significant number of records."


    I personally know this to be true.

    Its a fairly straightforward process.



  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ daesal


    9 times out of 10 it is best to wear your big boy/big girl pants and approach the person who you wish to complain about and explain the situation in person.

    They might not realise that there is an issue that concerns you and reasonable measures can be taken to keep both parties happy.

    I can see how the dormer window in the original post would be of concern but in many other cases its not the best way to go about things.



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