Foster welcomes streamlined planning porcess
Published on Thu, 29 Nov 2007
Environment Minister Arlene Foster today formally launched a new Streamlined Consultation Scheme between Planning Service and Derry City Council.
The Scheme, which will benefit all stakeholders in the planning process, will allow decisions on non-contentious planning applications for the Derry City Council area to be issued without formally bringing them to the Planning Committee. Instead, a decision will issue under the authority of the Divisional Planning Manager, following the more streamlined consultation process for this category of planning application.
Arlene Foster said: “I welcome the introduction of this Scheme today. Derry City Council has worked very closely with the local Divisional Planning Office to establish the Scheme, the first of this type to be introduced in Northern Ireland. The new arrangements will allow Councillors more time to focus on matters of wider public interest and greater planning significance and will encourage debate and transparency in determining major planning applications without compromising the quality of the decision or development on the ground.
"The Scheme will have an immediate impact and will accelerate the processing of all planning applications in the Derry City Council area by allowing a decision to be reached and issued quickly on non- contentious planning applications particularly those applications relating to small and medium sized business enterprises.”
Speaking at the launch Alderman Drew Thompson, Mayor of Derry City Council said: “This scheme will greatly enhance the quality of service delivery to planning applicants, particularly for those non-contentious applications. While Council will still be consulted on all planning applications and have the authority to discuss any planning application at the Planning Committee meetings, the Council will now have more time to concentrate its efforts on controversial and complex planning applications. The Council welcomes the opportunity to help deliver a more efficient planning system and is confident that if successful, it will be extended and initiated by other Councils.”
Notes to Editors:
- The Scheme will commence on 3 December 2007.
- Under the streamlined arrangements all non-contentious planning applications, by agreement with the Council, will be dealt with by the Planning Service in the Divisional Planning Office and a decision reached and an approval issued without the requirement for formal Council consultation through the Planning Committee; instead a more streamlined consultation procedure will be followed for this category of planning application.
- Non-contentious planning applications include applications for extensions and alterations to a dwelling, Reserved Matters, residential garages, agricultural buildings, advertisements etc provided the application is to be approved, has received no objections from third parties, there has been no formal request from Council to discuss the application at the Planning Committee meeting, and it meets planning policy considerations.
- The Scheme largely mirrors the successful system which operates efficiently during the summer recess and election periods whereby non-contentious planning applications are issued without formal Council consultation through the Planning Committee.
- Derry City Council receives on average over 1,000 planning applications per year and about 50% of these applications would fall within the Scheme proposals.
- The Council will continue to be consulted on all planning applications and Councillors will have the right to request that any planning application be included for discussion on the monthly schedule of planning applications which is presented with Opinions to the Planning Committee.
- The Scheme will make an immediate impact on contributing to the economy by improving performances through streamlined planning processes and will enhance the quality of service delivery.
- It will be particularly beneficial to small and medium sized business enterprises and for those applicants with disabilities who fall within the agreed streamlined categories.
- The Scheme will facilitate councillors to focus on the major, finely balanced or controversial planning proposals which are more complex and sensitive to local democratic input helping the economic well being and shaping the appearance and form of the historic City and District.
- It is proposed to assess the operation of the Scheme on an ongoing basis during the trial period and it is envisaged that it could be extended indefinitely by mutual agreement.
- If successful it is envisaged that the Scheme will be rolled out to other Councils which have already indicated an interest in agreeing similar arrangements in order to help to deliver a more efficient and effective planning system in the overall public interest.
- Officials will discuss the roll out of the Scheme with NILGA.
- The Scheme is just one of a number of projects which are under consideration by the Planning Service in the short term to streamline the Development Control process and to improve predictability, efficiency and effectiveness as part of the ongoing wider Reform Programme.
- For Department of Environment media enquiries, please contact DOE Press Office 028 9054 0003 or out-of-hours call EIS Duty Press Officer on pager 076 9971 5440.
- For Derry City Council media enquires please contact Derry City Council Marketing and Communications Section 028 7137 6504 Ext 6724.