Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Implementation: Planning Applications
A relevant and up-to-date development plan is a very important basis for deciding planning applications. Decisions are not arbitrary, each application is carefully considered against published criteria and standards, the Department's strategy and its associated policy and practice, statutory development plans so far as they are material to the application, and other material considerations.
Generally, planning permission will be granted if the proposed development will not cause demonstrable harm to interests of acknowledged importance. The Department strives to provide a speedy and efficient service for processing planning applications, commensurate with the proper assessment of their planning merits, including the important contribution of District Councils, consultees and the general public. The development control process is both open and accessible. In the case of some applications for major developments a public inquiry may be held and in some cases the applicant will be required to provide additional information by way of an Environmental Statement assessing the likely impact of the project upon the environment and describing any measures envisaged to deal with any significant adverse effects.
Many planning permissions will be subject to conditions designed to ensure that the proposed development is acceptable. Conditions will be imposed only where reasonable, necessary and relevant both to planning and to the actual development. In some instances a developer may be prepared to enter into a planning agreement to facilitate, regulate or restrict the proposed development and in some cases, as a matter of policy, the Department would expect developers to complete an agreement.