Northern Ireland: the year of Local Development Plans
Planning directly affects the spaces within which we live, work and play.
Planning decisions determine where new housing, schools, shops and offices will be built, how development in the countryside should be managed, and provides protection to the built and natural environment which shapes and defines our cities, towns, villages and countryside.
In April 2015, planning powers were transferred to local councils. Each council within Northern Ireland is responsible for the preparation of a new Local Development Plan (LDP) for their area. The LDP provides a blueprint which will guide new development. In the future, the LDP will be the primary document used by councils in determining planning applications. In preparing an LDP, the council will be consulting on the policies and designations to be contained within the new plan. By getting involved early in the LDP process you have the opportunity to influence and help shape future development within the council area.
For individuals who have land or property interests, this provides a platform from which your assets can be promoted and possibly enhanced, if they secured a zoning for a specific use within the Plan, for example a residential or employment zoning. Equally, others may be seeking to ensure that lands which are currently zoned for development retain their zoning and that no restrictive policies are introduced which would reduce the development prospects of the assets.
2018/2019 will be important years in the LDP process, as most councils will publish a draft Plan Strategy for public consultation.
Belfast City Council plans to be the first council to publish its draft Plan Strategy. Over the next few months, we anticipate that four other councils will publish their draft Plan Strategies, including Antrim & Newtownabbey, Derry City & Strabane, Fermanagh & Omagh and Mid & East Antrim.