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09/03/2016

RTPI Northern Ireland lays out ‘asks’ for assembly elections

Words: Laura Edgar
Northern Ireland / Shutterstock_203530255

RTPI Northern Ireland has set out five key requests of the parties in Northern Ireland for the term in the Northern Ireland Assembly, including coordinating policy by focusing on people and places.

The manifesto notes the change in the Northern Ireland planning system, which took place in April last year, saying that the “learning curve for the professional planner, the elected member and the general public has been vast”.

It states that the role of planning is “central to economic recovery”, meeting the needs of investors, providing a framework for climate change, enabling community planning that will connect the infrastructure needs of people and places, “providing opportunities for employment, health and well-being and environmental enhancement.

The requests to the political parties in Northern Ireland for the next term of the assembly are:

  1. Growing confidence in the planning system

The Northern Ireland Assembly must focus on making the Planning ACT (NI) 2011 function effectively, facilitate the delivery of the Regeneration Bill to enable regeneration functions to be transferred to local authorities, and focus on delivering a positive planning service that is clear in its requirements.

   2. Ensure the provision of a quality home for everyone in Northern Ireland that needs one

The future assembly must publish a long-term plan for housing considering all tenures and at the regional level provide direction for Community Plans and local development plans. It should also facilitate infrastructure to support new housing and ensure that infrastructure provision does not hold up development.

  3. Coordinate policy by focusing on people and places

The Northern Ireland Assembly must ensure that bodies out of local authority control, such as Transport NI, constructively facilitate physical development and the progress of Community Plans and local development planners. It should also support communities in influencing how the local place develops.

  4. Integrate infrastructure, development and environment

The assembly must develop a positive relationship between highways and land use to develop an effective public transport infrastructure. It should also promote, through the Regional Development Strategy, connectivity between planning and infrastructure to create commercially attractive transport hubs that are critical to investment.

  5. Promote a growing sustainable economy

The assembly must ensure that the planning system is well resourced so that it is able to respond appropriately and with confidence to economic opportunities. It should support the policy framework ensuring that the town centre first principle is delivered.

The full manifesto can be read here (pdf).

Image credit | Shuttershock

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