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Transfer of planning functions to Councils on 1st April 2015

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New Local Planning Offices – Update

To prepare for the transfer of planning functions to the 11 new councils on 1 April 2015, a number of new local planning offices will open in advance of transfer.
From 19 January 2015 planning services for the new Lisburn and Castlereagh council area will be delivered from:
Local Area Planning Office
Island Civic Centre
Lagan Valley Island
The Island
Lisburn
BT27 4RL
From 26 January 2015 planning services for the new Antrim and Newtownabbey council area will be delivered from:
Local Area Planning Office
Mossley Mill
Carnmoney Road North
Newtownabbey
BT36 5QA
From 2 February 2015, planning services for the new Mid Ulster council area will be delivered from:
DOE Planning Office
Magherafelt Council
50 Ballyronan Road
Magherafelt
BT45 6EN
The arrangements for contacting planning staff via telephone at these new offices will remain the same.  Therefore members of the public will continue to telephone NI Direct in the first instance via 0300 200 7830 (NI only) or (028) 9151 3101.
Why is the move taking place?
The purpose of the move is to prepare the way for the transfer of planning functions from DOE to council; the project is a joint DOE/Council venture.
Responsibility for the majority of planning functions will formally pass from DOE to the 11 new councils on 1 April 2015.
What does the move involve?
A group of staff are being moved from existing DOE Local Planning Offices into council offices. They will carry out their normal planning functions in their new offices while working alongside future council colleagues.
The idea is to have staff and all practical arrangements in place before planning formally transfers to councils on 1 April 2015.
DOE remains responsible for these staff and the delivery of planning services until 31 March 2015.
How are people affected by the change and what are the benefits?
There is no change to the way planning applications are determined as a result of these office relocations. The experienced staff involved will work to ensure continuity of service.
Applicants will be able to lodge, pay for and seek advice about planning applications as they do so at the moment, however, the services for those residing in these council districts will be provided from the new locations.
In addition to providing a more convenient service, this brings planning closer to many people in these council areas.
I already have an application in the system. What happens to it?
All applications already submitted for these council areas will move to the new office along with staff.  Planning officers will continue to process these applications as normal.
What planning powers are transferring to Councils on 1 April?
The powers transferring to Councils on 1 April 2015 will include:
  • Developing a local plan which will set out what the council area should look like and how land should be used and developed;
  • Making decisions on the majority of planning applications; and
  • Investigating alleged breaches of planning control and determining what enforcement action should be taken.
What will the Department be responsible for post April 2015?
The Department will retain responsibility for deciding regionally significant and called-in applications. It will also set regional planning policy and legislation and provide oversight and guidance for the system.
What are the important dates?
  • 19 January 2015 – Date planning office opens in Island Civic Centre, Lisburn
  • 26 January 2015 – Date planning office opens in Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey
  • 2 February 2015 – Date planning office opens in Magherafelt Council offices
  • 1 April 2015 – Date responsibility for planning functions formally transfer from DOE to the 11 new councils
More Information
If you are unsure which new council area you are in or for further information about the transfer of planning in general please contact Carol at C.McILvar Ltd who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

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