Strategic Planning Seminar: Understanding the New Planning System

Strategic Planning Seminar: Understanding the New Planning System

Following the transfer of planning powers from the Department of Environment to the new eleven Councils on 1st April, Strategic Planning in association with TLT Solicitors and Corvus Consulting, hosted a successful seminar on 4th June entitled ‘Understanding the New Planning System’. This gave clients and fellow industry professionals the opportunity to listen and ask questions of a variety of key speakers about what the changes involve.

Angus Kerr, Director of Planning Policy Division within DoE spoke on the new role and responsibilities for the Department. He outlined that DoE will still be responsible for planning policy and legislation but will also have a scrutiny role in respect of Local Development Plans as well as continuing to support Councils by providing advice and guidance. The ‘continuous improvement agenda’ was referenced with the Department due to report on Council planning performance. Important issues such as ‘call-in’ procedures and the effect of the imminent restructuring of the Stormont Departments on planning were also touched on.

Colin McClintock, Director of Development and Planning at Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council gave an overview from a local Government perspective and dealt with how planning powers have been operating in practice following 1st April. The role and functions of the Planning Committee and its members were explained including some aspects of the protocol governing the Committee such as arrangements for speaking rights and site visits. There was also useful advice for applicants and agents in terms of Council expectations of them.

David Kerr, Director of Public Affairs, Community and Stakeholder Engagement at Strategic Planning, gave an industry perspective on the new statutory requirement for Pre-Application Community Consultation for major projects. This included setting out each step in the pre-application timeline as well as an overview of the type of consultation which may be required throughout the process, particularly as part of the now mandatory public event. The anomalies between some Councils in terms of speaking rights, deferrals, referrals and schemes of delegation were also considered, highlighting the need for specialist knowledge when engaging with them on planning matters.

Finally, Richard Bowman of Strategic Planning, Andrew Ryan from TLT Solicitors and James O’Neill from Corvus Consulting were invited to join the speakers on the panel to take questions from the audience. Performance management, potential legal challenge of Pre-Application Community Consultation Reports and the importance of PAD meetings taking place at an early stage were all discussed.

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Belfast:
1 Pavilions Office Park, Kinnegar Drive, Holywood, BT18 9JQ
Dublin:
Denshaw House, 121 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2, Ireland