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NI planning system could be reviewed

Words: Roger Milne
Northern Ireland / iStock-182424560

The Northern Ireland Audit Office is gearing up to review the planning system at both local and central government level, according to the latest update from the country's chief planner Angus Kerr.

A scoping review for this exercise will start in early 2020, said Kerr.

The update highlights that several reviews have been deferred pending the return of ministers to Stormont. These include those on Planning Act regulations, permitted development rights for mineral exploration, strategic policy on renewable energy and strategic planning policy on development in the countryside.

Meanwhile, Kerr has confirmed that the Department for Infrastructure has called in two schemes – development proposals at the Londonderry Hotel, Portrush, and a major housing proposal at Lurgan Road, Moira.

Procurement of the new NI regional planning IT system is under way with the intention of awarding a contract in early spring 2020.

The update includes a review of progress with local development plans. All 11 councils have now published and consulted on their preferred options papers.

Kerr has stressed that the draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan remains as an emerging plan and, as such, the draft plan, along with representations received to the draft plan and the PAC inquiry reports remain as material considerations “to be weighed by the decision-maker”.

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