29 September 2020
By Elaine Murphy
- For the first time ever the public can easily view Cork County Council Planning Permission applications (new and old) online
- Until now the desktop system needed a specific browser and plugin which had mixed results
- The old system cost the Council marks on the Transparency International score sheet, with Transparency.ie noting “Unable to access files for numerous attempts”, even though an online system was not mandatory to begin with
In recent weeks Cork County Council had a soft launch of the new ‘e-Plan system’ which is compatible with multiple browsers, and also uses the PDF format for scans, instead of the DjVu format which required an unusual plugin. The new search system can be viewed at planning.corkcoco.ie/ePlan/
Meanwhile, it is possible to lodge submissions (which could be negative objections or positive comments) online using the Council’s Online Submission System at onlinesubmissions.
Surely, Planning Permissions were always online?
The key act for Planning Permission and related matters is the Planning & Development Act 2000. Back when it was written – 20 years+ ago – the internet was still in its infancy, and the Act didn’t require Planning Authorities (such as City and County Councils) put their databases online. Instead interested parties could visit the revelant City or County Hall to inspect a paper copy.
In practice most have online databases, but Cork County Council had a problem in recent years in that the system it choose – the ‘Planning Enquiry system’ – was browser-specific, and demanded’ Internet Explorer’ which was killed off recently. This cost the Council points on the annual transparency.ie survey.
For users of mobile devices; Cork County Council’s Planning App also continues to be available on Android and iOS for mobile devices and tablets, although it has a download size limit which means that scans of most applications won’t open, but the seperate file containing drawings can still be accessed.
Every IT system has its limitations, but the Council have made a great step forward.
What about the other Local Authority, Cork City Council?
Meanwhile, across town in the City centre the separate local authority there – Cork City Council – have the same new ‘ePlan system’. Theirs can be accessed at http://planning.corkcity.ie/searchtypes