Taking in Charge Policy-Standards
Achieving taking in charge standards:
The achievement of taking in charge standards for services may be met by the local authority providing professional guidance and advice to developers or where non-compliance occurs by utilising security lodged or taking of enforcement proceedings, where practicable.
The Development Management Guidelines state that it is essential for a planning authority to attach conditions to permissions for residential development requiring the lodgement of a bond or security to complete the necessary services (including roads, footpaths, water mains, sewers, lighting and public open space) to a satisfactory standard in the event of default by the developer. On the basis the Council may ultimately, after expiration of the statutory periods, be liable to complete publicly accessible services of general public utility where a developer defaults on his planning conditions, it is appropriate that such security be put in place to indemnify the Council/taxpayer for any costs incurred in so doing.
The existence of a management company to maintain elements of common buildings etc will not impact upon the decision by the authority to take in charge those publicly accessible services of general public utility that it is possible for the Council to take in charge. On this basis and to ensure the same standards of completion are achieved in respect of said services, the Council applies planning conditions requiring the lodgement of security to both standard housing estates and multi-unit residential buildings.
While the security or bond may be retained by the Council if services are not completed to the taking in charge standard the funds may only be utilised by the Council when said services are taken in charge. This is recognition of the fact that the developments services are private property until the Council takes them in charge.
The Council furthermore applies other planning conditions pertaining to the provision and completion of public services which, depending on their nature, where the developer defaults, it may enforce at different points in the statutory periods relating to the planning permission for the development. Enforcement action may be initiated where a formal complaint is received and will be pursued if expedient in the case of developments where services are not completed in accordance with the planning permission.
In the event that publicly accessible services of general public utility in a residential development are completed to the Councils taking in charge standard, the security will be refunded once the services are taken in charge or, where no request to take in charge exists, when the services are completed to standard.
In certain circumstances the Council may claim and utilise the security lodged by a developer to remedy defective publicly accessible services after they are taken in charge.
Department of the Environment Community and Local Government circulars required local authorities to adopt a taking in charge standard and publish a taking in charge policy. This has further clarified what the nature of “completion” of services means in the context of residential development and creates clarity as to the technical requirements and standards that are expected for South Dublin County Council. Specific technical requirements are outlined in the appendices to the taking in charge policy. This should assist in minimising sub-standard services being presented for taking in charge and reduce delay in the taking in charge process. Where required the Council will inspect services to ensure satisfactory completion has occurred.
Further details of the taking in charge process are outlined below.