Planning Portal

Angela Smith Announces A Major Shake Up In Planning Over The Next Three Years

Published on Mon, 3 Feb 2003
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Angela Smith, MP, today announced a major shake up in planning in the next three years in Northern Ireland and said she is determined to create a more coordinated, transparent, speedier, and efficient planning process.
Launching the ‘Modernising Planning Processes Implementation Plan’, Angela Smith said: " The Implementation Plan sets out an ambitious 3-year programme to fundamentally modernise and reform planning processes. It will speed up planning applications and reduce red tape. It should help to make area plans much more decisive, indicating precisely the reason land has been zoned. It will be complemented by a £10 million project ensuring that planning services are delivered electronically by 2005.
"There is a clear need for more accessible, simpler and faster planning processes. It is essential if we are going to sustain development and harness growth while getting the community more involved.
"After all, planning is fundamental to delivering what people want – jobs, homes, better transport, lively communities and sensitive care of the environment."
The Plan gives a commitment to deliver reforms within a firm timescale and flows from a very constructive public consultation process, which was initiated by Sam Foster, MLA, in February 2002. This will continue the commitments set out in the Northern Ireland Programme for Government.

Notes to Editors

  1. Over 160 responses were received in response to the Modernising Planning Processes consultation paper, which issued in February 2002.
  2. Proposals related to 3 key business areas – Development Control (Planning Applications), Development Plans and Policy.
  3. Key proposals included: enhanced openness and transparency; e-Planning; reforming the planning application process; improved consultation process with local Councils and other statutory bodies; reduced regulation; handling major applications; and supporting the quality initiative, including improved design.
  4. Proposals also include modernising the process of preparing Planning Policy documents and the Development Plan programme.
  5. The Implementation Plan also includes a major e-Planning project, funded through the Executive Programme Funds, to deliver planning processes electronically by 2005. £4M has already been allocated over the next two years to kick-start a £10M project to deliver this electronic planning system.
  6. The Implementation Plan is available on this website or by writing to Modernising Planning, DOE, Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8GB.
  7. For further media information, please contact Philip Maguire or Paddy Murphy, DOE Press Office, Tel 028 9054 0003.
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