Aiken PR

The Briefing

Consultation on the review of NI’s Planning Regulations

by Aiken PR

11/12/2023

The Department for Infrastructure has launched its consultation on proposed revisions and changes to the Planning Regulations (NI) 2015. The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 3 March 2024 with the Department seeking views from the public, stakeholders and planning authorities. The consultation document including details on how to respond can be found here.

The proposals are part of the Planning Improvement Programme (PIP) being brought forward by the Department ‘to improve current processes and the performance and delivery of the planning system’.

The Department has emphasised within the announcement today that it is continually seeking opportunities ‘to make positive changes to legislation which will give all stakeholders a greater opportunity to engage on those planning applications which impact them most’.

The consultation proposes changes in three areas:

• a review of the classes of development to ensure they reflect current and future development trends and that the associated thresholds take a balanced approach to community consultation in planning applications for major development.

• proposals to make pre–determination hearings discretionary for councils which will help focus resources and reduce delays in issuing planning decisions for some planning applications; and

• proposals to introduce online/digital methods into the pre–application community consultation (PACC) process, to enhance accessibility and encourage participation in the planning process by a broader range of people.

In a reflection of the current political impasse the Department has said that following closure of the consultation, the responses will be considered, ‘and should there be an absence of Ministers, any final decisions will be taken in light of the decision–making framework at that time.’