Planning Portal

Angela Smith Seeks To Reduce Unnecessary Planning Applications

Published on Thu, 18 Sep 2003
Unnecessary planning applications for minor development such as additional satellite dishes and other antennas, and small extensions to schools, universities and hospitals should not be allowed to clog up the system.
That was the message today from Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Angela Smith MP when she launched a consultation paper on planning-permitted development rights.
Angela Smith explains: " Permitted development rights enable certain types of development to proceed without the need to apply for planning approval. These currently include such things as small house extensions, conservatories, bus shelters and a range of works by public utilities. This, in turn, reduces the number of planning applications and the regulatory burden of the planning system. However, the current permitted development rights contained in the Planning (General Development) (Northern Ireland) Order 1993 have not been comprehensively reviewed since 1993.
"This review is another important step in my commitment to modernising planning processes. The consultation paper puts forward proposals for both extending and tightening permitted development rights and for improving interpretation and user friendliness of the law relating to them.
"Responses to the earlier consultation on modernising planning processes were mixed, on the principle of whether permitted development rights should be extended. This consultation paper tables specific recommendations and options from the review for comment. I want to hear the views of all sectors of the economy and the community on the findings of the review. It is important that the planning system is not clogged up with unnecessary planning applications."

Notes to Editors

  1. Angela Smith MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, launched the Modernising Planning Processes Implementation Plan on 3rd February 2003. This followed the Modernising Planning Processes Consultation Paper, published on 13th February 2002, which was the first comprehensive review of the planning system in nearly 30 years.
  2. One of the topics referred to in the Modernising Planning Processes (MPP) consultation paper was permitted development rights which provide that certain types of development, because of their scale or nature, do not require the submission of a planning application. An example of this is the construction of a small-scale extension to an existing dwelling. The consultation paper commented that, if permitted development rights could be extended without adversely affecting amenity and other interests, it would enable the Planning Service to make better use of scarce resources to speed up the planning process.
  3. Responses to the consultation paper on the principle of extending permitted development rights were mixed, the industry/business community supporting the proposition and a number of residents’ associations and environmental groups opposing any relaxation.
  4. In the Modernising Planning Processes Implementation Plan published in February 2003, the Department indicated that it had appointed consultants to carry out a review of permitted development rights and would subsequently issue a consultation paper.
  5. The consultants’ report makes recommendations for extending some permitted development rights and restricting others. It also makes proposals for improving interpretation and user friendliness of the law relating to them.
  6. While the review was in progress, a consultation paper issued in England in April 2003 on possible changes to permitted development rights for Satellite Dishes and Other Antennas. The Department has decided to include this topic in its consultation on permitted development rights generally and for that purpose has published a paper which summarises the technical background and sets out options for permitted development rights. This paper and the consultant’s report on the review of other permitted development rights are both available on-line.
  7. The consultation paper on the review of permitted development rights therefore embraces both the consultants’ recommendations and the options for satellite dishes and other antennas.
  8. For further information please contact Philip Maguire DOE Press Office Tel 028 9054 0003 e-mail
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