Planning Portal

DCAN 11: Access for People with Disabilities
Legislative Background

2. Section 4 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 places an obligation on anyone undertaking the provision of a building to which the public are to be admitted, to make appropriate provision for the needs of persons with disabilities as regards the means of access, parking and sanitary convenience insofar as it is, in the circumstances both practicable and reasonable to do so. This requirement also applies to the conversion of an existing building. Section 8 of the Act places a similar obligation on any person undertaking the provision of a building for educational purposes, shops, offices and factories. Section 7 of the Act further provides that appropriate signposting of the facilities should be provided.
3. In line with requirements of Article 26 of the Planning Order (Northern Ireland) 1991, the Department when granting planning permission for buildings or premises which fall within the categories outlined above, draws the attention of the applicant to the provisions of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 relating to access to the buildings for persons with disabilities.
4. The Department also wishes to draw the attention of persons involved in the provision of buildings within the categories outlined in paragraph 2 above to the "Code of Practice for Access for the Disabled to Buildings" published by British Standards Institution [ BS 5810: 19791 and to the Department of Education and Science Design Note 18 "Access for the Physically Disabled to Educational Buildings" 1984
5. It should be noted that the 1978 Act is a separate statutory code not directly related to planning control and in addition to the question of access to buildings, it deals with matters such as the internal layout and design of buildings and the provision of facilities within buildings which are not matters for which the Town and Country Planning Service of the Department has primary responsibility. The suitability of the entrance details and the interior features of the development for the needs of the people with disabilities are matters which are controlled separately via the Building Regulations.
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