Young solicitors briefed on key planning and property law issues at McCann FitzGerald HQ

Young solicitors briefed on key planning and property law issues at McCann FitzGerald HQ

Young solicitors were briefed on key planning and property law issues at a lively CPD event organised by the Dublin Solicitors’ Bar Association (DBSA) Younger Members (YM) committee.

The event at McCann FitzGerald’s headquarters heard from speakers Seán O’Sullivan BL, Katie Creelman and Brendan Slattery.

Mr O’Sullivan discussed the planning process relating to Strategic Development Zones (SDZ) and the much-publicised issue regarding the interplay between the Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines and existing planning schemes in SDZs.

This issue formed the subject of the decision of Mr Justice Garrett Simons in Spencer Place Development Company Limited -v- Dublin City Council [2019] IEHC 384. SDZ is key to the delivery of thousands of new homes at Poolbeg and Cherrywood.

Advising attendees on the relevant procedure to appeal a planning decision made in respect of an SDZ, Mr O’Sullivan said: “The Planning system for SDZs is protected from both appeal and interference and consequently the scope for challenge is extremely restricted. In such a tight space, knowing where the line is is where the advantage lies.”

Ms Creelman, a solicitor and tax consultant at Grant Thornton, discussed practical tax considerations for solicitors in commercial property transactions with a view to identifying potential issues at an early stage and delivering value to the client in cases involving tight deadlines.

She recommended including a detailed cover letter to Revenue with unusual CG50 applications in order to avoid delays. Ms Creelman also outlined the qualification criteria for the Stamp Duty Residential Refund Scheme and stressed the importance of getting the refund application correct as refunds from that scheme may form a significant source of funding for the relevant construction project.

Ms Creelman emphasised the importance of advising clients to observe timelines for construction set out by Revenue to avoid potential costly clawbacks.

Mr Slattery, head of environment and planning at McCann FitzGerald, outlined some of the regulatory tools used by Government to deliver the “Rebuilding Ireland” programme, the €6 billion action-plan to increase the overall supply of new homes to 25,000 a year by 2020.

He explained the three recent challenges to the operation of the fast-track Strategic Housing Development Scheme, the use of the system for new models of shared living and the continued rise in the number of applications received by An Bord Pleanála since the relevant legislation came into effect in July 2017.

Mr Slattery alerted those present to their personal exposure to criminal liability when enjoying short term lettings, as Government have clamped down on Airbnb-like uses of property since July 2019.

Closing proceedings on the evening, Deirdre Farrell of Amorys Solicitors and the YM committee, invited junior members to visit the committee’s LinkedIn page to find out about future events and/or to suggest ideas for next events, educational or social.

At a short reception following the event, members enjoyed the opportunity to further discuss the recent judicial review decision relating to development at North Lotts Quay, which was in view from the function room.

The Younger Members committee thanked McCann FitzGerald for its “generous support of the evening”.

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