Planning Portal

Angela Smith Outlines Further Planning Reforms

Published on Thu, 19 Aug 2004
Environment Minister, Angela Smith MP, today launched further proposals to tackle delays and strengthen the planning system.
The consultation paper, entitled "Reforming Planning: Proposals to Amend Primary Planning Legislation in Northern Ireland", is another step in the DOE’s "Planning to Deliver" programme to modernise and reform the planning system.
The wide ranging legislative proposals contained in the consultation paper are intended to speed up the development control and appeal processes, strengthen control in protecting and enhancing the built and natural environment, improve enforcement and aid the preparation of development plans.
Angela Smith said: "I am committed to an enhanced and efficient planning system which delivers quality and timely development decisions. These legislative proposals will help to achieve this, but it is also vital that development is sustainable. That is why this paper also details new measures that will protect and enhance both the built and natural environments.
"Planning touches the lives of almost everyone in Northern Ireland. If you are a developer submitting a planning application, a participant in an Area Plan public inquiry, or maybe a person with a disability whose access to a building has been frustrated by poor design, then you will find proposals within this consultation paper that relate directly to you."
Angela Smith urged the people of Northern Ireland to make their views known. The consultation is over a 12 week period and the consultation exercise paper can be accessed on this website or by post from Planning Service Headquarters (Consultation on Reforming Planning), Room 6-12, Clarence Court, 10/18 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8GB. The closing date for consultation replies is 12 November 2004.

Notes to Editors

  1. The consultation paper is entitled "Reforming Planning: Proposals to Amend Primary Planning Legislation in Northern Ireland".
  2. It follows on from the Modernising Planning Processes Implementation Plan which was launched by Angela Smith on 3 February 2003 after a comprehensive review of the planning system in 2002.
  3. This consultation covers key proposals which include:-
    • reducing the normal duration of planning permissions from five years to three to speed up development and ensure new policies take effect more quickly on the ground;
    • making disabled access a primary consideration at the start of the development process;
    • the review of quarry permissions to ensure they operate under modern environmental standards;
    • regulating the expansion of large retail outlets with new controls on the addition of mezzanine floors;
    • new powers to protect buildings in conservation areas from demolition before designation takes effect;
    • faster action to respond to breaches of planning control;
    • more than doubling of fines for unauthorised advertisements;
    • underlining the importance of design quality;
    • changes to the processing of planning appeals; and
    • streamlined development plan inquiries.
  4. The consultation paper can be accessed on this website or can be obtained from Planning Service HQ.
  5. The Minister is not available for interviews and for further media information contact DOE Press Office Tel. 028 9054 0003.
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