The RSUA local groups in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon and Derry City and Strabane met recently to discuss issues around Council planning services, Local Development Plans and how architects can proactively engage with statutory consultees on applications.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Local Group
On Friday 25 March the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon local group met in Portadown.
Members discussed their work with local stakeholders prior to the pandemic and how they planned to re-engage with workshops in the coming months.
The group also discussed the delays in receiving responses from statutory consultees which has an impact on delivery for clients and agreed to initiate some research into how this was affecting applications regionally.
In relation to the Local Development Plan the group chair, Grace Wilson will write to the local Council to determine at what stage of development the plan is at, and how architects can positively contribute.
Derry City and Strabane Local Group
On 1 April the Derry City and Strabane local group met in the city for the first time since the pandemic struck.
The group discussed the impact of delays in receiving environmental survey results and how statutory consultees performed when their input was sought on an application.
Members discussed how planning processes could be improved by utilising an electronic system that could register documents and assist in communication with planners.
A fees calculator for planning applications was a topic of discussion and the group intends to ask the local Council to bring this forward to ensure that applications are submitted with the correct fee and help speed up application submissions.
Both groups agreed to seek information from their local Councils on capacity issues and to engage positively with planners on improving communication.
Remaining local groups are planned to meet in the near future and will provide an online report for information.