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Belfast HMO Subject Plan 2015
Preamble

The Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) Subject Plan for Belfast City Council Area 2015 (hereafter referred to as the Subject Plan) is a development plan prepared under the provisions of Part III of The Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 by the Planning Service, an agency within the Department of the Environment (DOE).
The Draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (BMAP) was published in November 2004, and set out criteria for Conversion of Buildings for Multiple Occupation under Policy HOU 6. Representations, received during public consultation on BMAP suggested the policy did not go far enough in addressing the issues relating to HMOs and, in particular, lacked a spatial dimension. The Subject Plan has been prepared in response to these representations, together with emerging concerns regarding the impact of HMOs.
A Notice of Intention to prepare the Subject Plan was given to Belfast City Council on 30 June 2005. The Notice was published in the regional and local press during the weeks commencing 27 June and 4 July 2005. The Notice invited individuals and interested parties to submit initial comments on key issues which the Department should consider in preparing the Subject Plan.
The Department published the Subject Plan Issues Paper on 15 August 2005 in order to assist and inform the consultation process. The Issues Paper sought to stimulate debate and discussion focused on those issues of significance that would shape the preparation of the Draft Subject Plan. (Opens PDF document in a new browser window 629 KB)
All comments received following the initial press notices in June and July 2005 were considered by the Department in the preparation of the Draft Subject Plan.
The Subject Plan has been prepared by an in-house planning team within the DOE Planning Service and the process has been informed by the Inter-Agency Strategic Group set up by Belfast City Council. Input was also received from the various Departments within the City Council (Environmental Health, Cleansing Services, Pollution and Noise Control, Building Control and Waste Management) and other Agencies/Government Departments, including the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI), NIO Community Safety Unit, Universities and Higher Education establishments. The Subject Plan also takes account of the Housing Market Analysis (Opens PDF document in a new browser window 1125 KB) undertaken by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).
The Draft Subject Plan was determined by the Department for Regional Development, in accordance with Article 28(3) of the Planning (Amendment)(Northern Ireland) Order 2003, to be in general conformity with the Regional Development Strategy (RDS).
The Department published the Draft Subject Plan on 27 June 2006. A total of 129 letters of objection were received during the statutory public consultation period that followed its publication.
The Department asked the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) to facilitate an Examination in Public to consider objections to the Draft Subject Plan. The Examination was conducted over 2 days from 1 to 2 October 2007. The PAC forwarded its report on the Examination to the Department on 18 March 2008.
The recommendations contained in the PAC Report (Opens PDF document in a new browser window 120 KB) have been fully assessed by the Department and revisions to the Subject Plan made accordingly. Full details of the Department’s response to the PAC recommendations are set out in the Plan Adoption Statement.
The Department is now publishing the Subject Plan.  This document, comprising a written statement and maps, incorporates the amendments outlined in the Plan Adoption Statement and replaces the previous draft version of the Subject Plan. There are other Associated Documents published at the same time as this Subject Plan and they are listed in Appendix 2.
The accompanying maps illustrate Subject Plan Proposals within the Belfast Council Area.
In case of any contradiction between the Written Statement and any maps accompanying the Subject Plan the provisions of the Written Statement will prevail.
The Subject Plan Proposals should not, therefore, be read as the only tests of acceptability for development proposals. The Subject Plan Proposals sit alongside, but do not supersede, prevailing regional planning policy as set out in the RDS and Planning Policy Statements (PPSs). In making its decisions the Department will assess proposals against all planning policies and other material considerations that are relevant to it. In particular, the Subject Plan should be read in association with the Plan Proposals contained in BMAP. The contents of the Subject Plan must, therefore, be read in conjunction with the relevant contents of regional planning policy publications, supplementary planning guidance documents and policy publications of other Government Departments.
In bringing forward proposals for planning permission, applicants must, therefore, take account of the content of prevailing regional policy guidance, in addition to the specific policies and proposals contained in the Subject Plan.
Nothing in the Subject Plan should be read as a commitment that public resources will be provided for any specific project.
Unless otherwise stated, all references in the Subject Plan to the ‘Department’ refer to the Department of the Environment.
This section contains the following sub-catagories
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