First review of planning act reveals recommendations


The first review of the implementation of the Planning Act (NI) 2011 has been published by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon and suggests a series of recommendations.

The review included a targeted call for evidence exercise, to which the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) made a contribution. The key recommendations of the report for changes to the Act, subordinate legislation and guidance aimed at improving the planning system include:

  • reviewing the consultation requirements in plan-making;
  • improving the quality of planning applications submitted;
  • increasing the use of digital technology in the planning system;
  • review the statutory consultations process, including timeframes for consultations responses, penalties for late responses and how councils can proceed if statutory consultees do not respond within the required timeframes;
  • reviewing categories of development and the Department’s approach to call in notifications; and
  • reviewing aspects of the appeals system around new material, and the variation of proposals at appeal.

The review was published shortly before the Northern Ireland Audit Office made it’s report into the country’s planning system available.

Concluding her review, Minister Mallon commented ““There is still much we need to do to build a better planning system that delivers for all stakeholders. This report sets out some of the next legislative and other steps we can take, and I am confident will provide the foundations to take forward real improvements across the planning system.”

Read the full review below.