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NI chief planner advocates joint-working by councils on cross-boundary affairs

Words: Roger Milne

Northern Ireland’s chief planner has published guidance on Department of Infrastructure expectations that councils work together to deliver the regional and sub-regional objectives set out in the Regional Development Strategy.

In her first chief planner's update, Fiona McCandless stressed that “engagement between councils provides an opportunity to integrate local development plan (LDP) aims and objectives with those of neighbouring plans and other strategies and promotes a more coherent, joined-up approach to regional planning issues”.

“Such cross-boundary working also ensures that LDPs are compatible with one another and that areas of potential conflict are resolved prior to a development plan document being submitted to the department to cause an independent examination.

“Evidence of engagement and collaboration is important to demonstrate how a plan has had regard to other relevant plans and is an important aspect of plan soundness,” she insisted.

McCandless urged councils to develop protocols for working together on cross-boundary matters.

The chief planner reminded councils that development plans would have to demonstrate how the RDS had been taken into account and how cross-boundary subjects had been addressed.

McCandless's update can be found here.

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