Environment Minister welcomes Planning Service Success in Londonderry
Published on Fri, 9 May 2008
Straightforward planning applications in Londonderry are now being processed in just 21 working days, thanks to a Streamlined Consultation pilot scheme.
The initiative from the Planning Service and the City Council in Londonderry has proved so successful that it is being extended to the Limavady council area. A number of other council areas have also expressed an interest in the scheme.
The scheme is one of a range of initiatives announced by Environment Minister Arlene Foster in November 2007, as part of the reform of the Planning System.
Congratulating the Planning Service and the City Council on the success of the pilot, which is due to be completed in June 2008, Arlene Foster said, “Initial indications are very encouraging as we see the potential benefits of this reform measure. We have been able to achieve a significant reduction in the processing times for straightforward planning applications.
“The scheme, if successful, should help deliver a more efficient and effective planning system, and already it has enabled us to deliver a much improved service to our customers.
Cllr Maurice Devenney, Chair of City Council’s Planning Committee, commented “The City Council have been delighted to play their part in delivering this new scheme which has meant faster planning decisions and clear benefits for applicants and the local development industry.
Principal Planner, Fiona McCandless, from the Londonderry Planning Office explained, “If the benefits of the new scheme are to be maximised, it is essential that applications are complete and contain all the information required to make a decision.
The Londonderry Planning Office has engaged with local architects and agents to explain the new arrangements and help them take full advantage of the streamlined process.
This is the first scheme of this type in Northern Ireland. An evaluation will be carried out after six months to determine the scheme’s success - after which, discussions on the rollout will take place with other councils.