The Planning System: Preparing Development Plans
A development plan defines the policy framework and land use proposals that will be used to guide development decisions within a specified area.
The Department has a statutory power, laid down in Article 4 of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991, to make a development plan for any area. The Department may also alter, repeal or replace such a plan. Development plans may be in the form of area plans, local plans or subject plans. The Department is required to ensure that development plans are in general conformity with the Regional Development Strategy.
The Planning (Development Plans) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 detail the procedures the Department must follow in relation to the preparation of development plans.
The Department’s policy in relation to the preparation of development plans is detailed in Planning Policy Statement 1: General Principles.
Development plans apply the regional policies of the Department at the appropriate local level and inform the general public, statutory authorities, developers and other interested bodies of the policy framework and land use proposals that will be used to guide development decisions within their local area.
Development plans are one of a number of planning documents taken into account in making decisions on planning applications. Information on the other planning documents that are used in the decision making process is available in Information Leaflet 7: Hierarchy of Planning Documents and Their Role in Making a Planning Decision.
The preparation of a new development plan provides an opportunity to get involved in shaping the future development of an area. There are a number of occasions through the plan preparation process where public consultation is undertaken.
The preparation of development plans involves the following key stages:
- Stage 1: Information gathering
- Stage 2: Issues Paper
- Stage 3: Draft Plan
- Stage 4: Independent Examination
- Stage 5: The Adopted Plan
The Department is often required to carry out a number of assessments during the preparation of a development plan.