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Belfast reaches planning milestone as blueprint is readied for hearing

Words: Roger Milne
Belfast / iStock-91766568

Belfast City Council has become the first local authority in Northern Ireland to have its local development plan passed to the Planning Appeals Commission for consideration for independent examination.

This is not only an important step towards the council adopting its own growth strategy and planning policies for the capital, but also a milestone for the country’s reformed planning system.

The plan is the blueprint for Belfast up to 2035. It will guide investment, set out policies and proposals for the use, development and protection of land across the city, and once adopted, will be used to determine planning applications.

Arder Carson, chair of the city council’s planning committee, said: “We’re very pleased that the Department for Infrastructure has put our plan forward to the next stage. It’s a significant milestone for Belfast – the LDP will shape how the city develops. It’s going to support our Belfast Agenda ambitions and the crucial role we’ll play in helping to sustainably develop the wider regional economy over the next 15 years.

“We’ve had responsibility for determining the outcome of planning applications since the transfer of planning powers in April 2015 – from domestic extensions through to major urban redevelopment schemes.

"It’s time for the policies that we base our decisions on to be updated, so that they place communities at the heart of the planning process, they’re tailored to the needs of our evolving city and they allow for speedier decision-making.”

Image credit | iStock