Factors: Site visits
Prior to making a decision on a planning application, the case officer responsible for the application will visit the site.
The site inspection will normally take place after the application has been validated and initial consultations issued. It enables the case officer to view the site in context and to identify any specific site features or area characteristics which may not be immediately obvious from the plans accompanying the planning application.
The case officer will normally complete an unaccompanied site visit and there is no requirement for the applicant or interested third parties to be present at the time of the inspection. On this basis, the case officer will not normally contact the applicant to agree or arrange a time to inspect the site.
It may also, on occasion, be necessary for officers from the Department’s various consultee bodies such as Roads Service, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Water Service or, Landscape Service, to visit an application site prior to providing comments in relation to any planning application. Again these officers will normally conduct an unaccompanied site visit and will not normally contact the applicant to agree or arrange a time to inspect the site.
All Planning Officers (and those officers inspecting sites on the Department’s behalf), carry formal photographic identification which can be produced by the officer on request.