Planning for a New Era – Update on the Planning Reform Programme

A half day seminar on Thursday 9 June 2011 starting at 9.30 am in Malone House, Barnett Demesne, Belfast

Planning for a New Era – Update on the Planning

Reform Programme

The aim of the seminar is to bring architects up to speed with the Planning Reform Programme and recent organisational changes.


1. Organisational Change – De-agentisation and re-structuring

The Environment Minister made a statement to the Assembly on 30th November 2010 setting out the steps being taken to reinvigorate planning and local government reform.  In that statement he also said that he wanted to transform the Planning Service to anticipate as closely as possible the arrangements which will be needed after the transfer of planning powers to councils. As part of this transformation Planning Service’s status as an Agency within the Department of the Environment ended on 31st March 2011. From 1st April Planning Service’s functions and staff were absorbed into the core of the Department of the Environment. Planning functions have also been reorganised to anticipate the transfer to councils resulting in the Local Planning Division taking operational responsibility for the development plan and development management functions that will, in due course, transfer to local government.  Whilst the Strategic Planning Division will take forward the responsibilities which will remain with the Department following local government reform.


2. The Planning Bill

The Planning Bill was passed by the Assembly on 23rd March 2011. It sets the framework for the future of planning, providing for the transfer of the majority of planning functions from the Department of the Environment to local government. The Bill also revitalises and streamlines the planning system. It allows for better, faster development management and enforcement functions and an improved and more focused local development plan process.


3. Recent changes to suite of Planning Policy Statements

Planning Policy Statements (PPS) contain policies on land-use and other planning matters that apply to the whole of Northern Ireland. They set out the main planning considerations that the Department takes into account in assessing proposals for the various forms of development and are relevant to the preparation of development plans.  They are also material to decisions on individual planning appeals.



Beverley Cowan – Planning Policy Division (Project Manager for de-agentisation & re-structuring)

Irene Kennedy – Planning Policy Division (Head of Planning Bill Team)

Angus Kerr – Planning Policy Division (Head of Planning Policy)


Course costs £25 inc VAT (PSS members £20 inc VAT).  Please make cheques payable to RSUA