What is a Protected Structure
A protected structure is a structure that a local authority considers to be of special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point of view. Details of protected structures are entered by the authority in its Record of Protected Structures, which is found in Schedule 2 of the South Dublin County Development Plan 2004-2010. Each owner and occupier of a protected structure is legally obliged to ensure that the structure is maintained and safeguarded from endangerment.
The protection of a Protected Structure also extends to and includes all parts of the structure, including its interior, all land around it, and any other structures on that land. The obligation also applies to all fixtures and fittings forming part of the interior of a protected structure or of any structure on land around it. If immediately before 1 January 2000 a structure was listed for preservation or protection in a development plan, that structure automatically became a protected structure on that date. Otherwise, a local authority must follow certain procedures if it proposes to deem a structure to be a protected structure. These involve notifying the owners and occupiers of the structure, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, and other bodies of the proposal. An owner or occupier is entitled to make comments on such a proposal to the authority.
Link to South Dublin County Development Plan, Schedule 2, Record of Protected Structures
Obligations of Owners Each owner and occupier must ensure that a protected structure or any element of a protected structure is not endangered through harm, decay or damage, whether over a short or long period, through neglect or through direct or indirect means. A local authority may: -
- require an owner or an occupier of a protected structure to carry out works if it considers that the structure is or may become endangered;
- require an owner or an occupier of a protected structure to carry out works if it considers that character of the structure ought to be restored;
- acquire, by agreement or compulsorily, a protected structure if it considers that this is desirable or necessary in relation to the protection of the structure. Where a local authority requires works to be carried out to prevent a protected structure from becoming or continuing to be endangered, the owner or occupier concerned may be eligible for a grant under the scheme of grants for the conservation of protected structures.
Works to a Protected Structure
Under the planning system, many minor works to structures do not normally require planning permission. These works are known as exempted development. However, for a protected structure, such works can be carried out without planning permission only if the works would not affect the character of the structure or any element of the structure that contributes to its special interest. Depending on the nature of the structure, planning permission could, for example, be required for interior decorating such as plastering or painting. A declaration from the local authority is necessary as to the type of works which would or would not materially affect the character of the structure.
Section 57 Declarations
An owner or occupier of a protected structure may request the local authority to issue a declaration indicating the types of works that could be carried out without affecting the character of the structure or any element of the structure which contributes to its special interest. These works would not require planning permission. A local authority will, in general, issue such a declaration within three months of receiving a request. A Section 5 Declaration may also be used for a Protected Structure where the owner/occupier has specific works in mind.
Scheme of Grants for Protected Structures
Applicants are invited on annual basis for consideration under the Conservation Grant Scheme for Protected Structures which operates each year to assist owners and occupiers to carry out conservation works to their protected structures. The scheme is part of a package of measures introduced by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government to strengthen the protection of the architectural heritage. Details here