Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Document Number:2011 CHAPTER 25
 
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An Act to make provision in relation to planning; and for connected purposes.

[4 th May 2011]

BE IT ENACTED by being passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly and assented to by Her Majesty as follows:

PART 1 FUNCTIONS OF DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT WITH RESPECT TO DEVELOPMENT OF LAND

General functions of Department with respect to development of land

  1. —(1) The Department must formulate and co-ordinate policy for securing the orderly and consistent development of land and the planning of that development.

    (2) The Department must—

    (a) ensure that any such policy is in general conformity with the regional development strategy;

    (b) exercise its functions under subsection (1) with the objective of furthering sustainable development and promoting or improving well-being.

    (3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(b) the Department must take account of—

    (a) policies and guidance issued by—

    (i) the Department for Regional Development;

    (ii) the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister;

    (b) any other matter which appears to it to be relevant.

    (4) The Department may undertake, or cause to be undertaken, such surveys or studies as it may consider necessary, including surveys or studies relating to any of the following matters—

    (a) the physical, economic, social and environmental characteristics of any area, including the purposes for which land is used;

    (b) the size, composition and distribution of the population of an area;

    (c) the communications, transport system and traffic of an area;

    (d) any changes in relation to the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c) and the effect which the changes are likely to have on the development of Northern Ireland or any part of Northern Ireland or the planning of that development.

    Preparation of statement of community involvement by Department

  2. —(1) The Department must prepare and publish a statement of community involvement.

    (2) The statement of community involvement is a statement of the Department’s policy as to the involvement in the exercise of the Department’s functions under Part 3 of persons who appear to the Department to have an interest in matters relating to development.

    (3) The Department must prepare and publish a statement of community involvement within the period of one year from the day appointed for the coming into operation of this section.

    PART 2 LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS

    General

    Survey of district

  3. —(1) A council must keep under review the matters which may be expected to affect the development of its district or the planning of that development.

    (2) Those matters include—

    (a) the principal physical, economic, social and environmental characteristics of the council’s district;

    (b) the principal purposes for which land is used in the district;

    (c) the size, composition and distribution of the population of the district;

    (d) the communications, transport system and traffic of the district;

    (e) any other considerations which may be expected to affect those matters;

    (f) such other matters as may be prescribed or as the Department (in a particular case) may direct.

    (3) The matters also include—

    (a) the potential impact of climate change;

    (b) any changes which the council thinks may occur in relation to any other matter;

    (c) the effect such changes are likely to have on the development of the council’s district or on the planning of such development.

    (4) A council may also keep under review and examine the matters mentioned in subsections (2) and (3) in relation to any neighbouring district to the extent that those matters may be expected to affect the district of the council.

    (5) In exercising a function under subsection (4) a council must consult with the council for the neighbouring district in question.

    Statement of community involvement

  4. —(1) A council must prepare a statement of community involvement.

    (2) The statement of community involvement is a statement of the council’s policy as to the involvement in the exercise of the council’s functions under this Part and Part 3 of persons who appear to the council to have an interest in matters relating to development in its district.

    (3) The council and the Department must attempt to agree the terms of the statement of community involvement.

    (4) But to the extent that the council and the Department cannot agree the terms of the statement of community involvement the Department may direct that the statement must be in the terms specified in the direction.

    (5) The council must comply with the direction.

    (6) The Department may prescribe—

    (a) the procedure in respect of the preparation of the statement of community involvement;

    (b) the form and content of the statement;

    (c) publicity about the statement;

    (d) making the statement available for inspection by the public;

    (e) the manner in which—

    (i) representations may be made in relation to any matter to be included in the statement; and

    (ii) those representations are to be considered;

    (f) circumstances in which the requirements of the statement need not be complied with.

    Sustainable development

  5. —(1) Any person who exercises any function under this Part must exercise that function with the objective of furthering sustainable development.

    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the person must take account of—

    (a) policies and guidance issued by—

    (i) the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister;

    (ii) the Department;

    (iii) the Department for Regional Development;

    (b) any matters which appear to that person to be relevant.

    Local development plans

    Local development plan

  6. —(1) Any reference—

    (a) to a local development plan in this Act and in any other statutory provision relating to planning; and

    (b) to a development plan in any statutory provision relating to planning,

    is to be construed as a reference to the development plan documents (taken together) which have been adopted by the council or approved by the Department in accordance with section 16(6).

    (2) In this Part the development plan documents are—

    (a) the plan strategy;

    (b) the local policies plan.

    (3) If to any extent a policy contained in a local development plan conflicts with another policy in that plan the conflict must be resolved in favour of the policy which is contained in the last development plan document to be adopted or, as the case may be, approved.

    (4) Where, in making any determination under this Act, regard is to be had to the local development plan, the determination must be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

    Preparation of timetable

  7. —(1) A council must prepare, and keep under review a timetable for the preparation and adoption of the council’s local development plan.

    (2) The council and the Department must attempt to agree the terms of the timetable mentioned in subsection (1).

    (3) But to the extent that the Department and the council cannot agree the terms the Department may direct that the timetable must be in the terms specified in the direction.

    (4) The council must comply with the direction.

    (5) The Department may prescribe—

    (a) the procedure in respect of the preparation of the timetable mentioned in subsection (1);

    (b) the form and content of the timetable;

    (c) the time at which any step in the preparation of the timetable must be taken;

    (d) publicity about the timetable;

    (e) making the timetable available for inspection by the public;

    (f) circumstances in which the requirements of the timetable need not be complied with.

    Plan strategy

  8. —(1) A council must prepare a plan for its district (to be known as a plan strategy).

    (2) A plan strategy must set out—

    (a) the council’s objectives in relation to the development and use of land in its district;

    (b) its strategic policies for the implementation of those objectives; and

    (c) such other matters as may be prescribed.

    (3) Regulations under this section may prescribe the form and content of the plan strategy.

    (4) A plan strategy must be prepared in accordance with—

    (a) the timetable set out in section 7(1);

    (b) the council’s statement of community involvement.

    (5) In preparing a plan strategy, the council must take account of—

    (a) the regional development strategy;

    (b) any policy or advice contained in guidance issued by the Department;

    (c) such other matters as the Department may prescribe or, in a particular case, direct,

    and may have regard to such other information and considerations as appear to the council to be relevant.

    (6) The council must also—

    (a) carry out an appraisal of the sustainability of the plan strategy;

    (b) prepare a report of the findings of the appraisal.

    (7) A plan strategy is a plan strategy only if it is—

    (a) adopted by resolution of the council; or

    (b) approved by the Department in accordance with section 16(6).

    Local policies plan

  9. —(1) A council must, after the plan strategy for its district has been adopted by resolution of the council or, as the case may be, approved by the Department, prepare a plan for its district (to be known as a local policies plan).

    (2) The local policies plan must set out—

    (a) the council’s policies in relation to the development and use of land in its district; and

    (b) such other matters as may be prescribed.

    (3) Regulations under this section may prescribe the form and content of the local policies plan.

    (4) The local policies plan must be prepared in accordance with—

    (a) the timetable set out in section 7(1);

    (b) the council’s statement of community involvement.

    (5) The council’s local policies plan must be consistent with the council’s plan strategy.

    (6) In preparing the local policies plan, the council must take account of—

    (a) the regional development strategy;

    (b) any policy or advice contained in guidance issued by the Department;

    (c) such other matters as the Department may prescribe or, in a particular case, direct,

    and may have regard to such other information and considerations as appear to the council to be relevant.

    (7) The council must also—

    (a) carry out an appraisal of the...

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