Update on council’s new planning role

Ballymena councillors have been brought up to speed on the reform of the planning system and transfer of planning functions to local authorities.

At their planning committee meeting in The Braid on Thursday night, assistant chief building control officer, Trevor Kyle, confirmed to them that the majority of planning functions will transfer from central government to the new 11 councils in April 2015 as part of local government reform.

Members heard that as part of that reform the bulk of planning functions will no longer rest with the Department of the Environment. Instead these powers will be devolved to district councils which, through their elected representatives, will be responsible and accountable for most planning decisions.

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“The transfer of planning powers from the DoE to local councils will be one of the most significant elements of the local government reform programme,” said Mr Kyle.

“At the point of formal transfer, the Council will no longer be a consultee in the planning process; but become the planning authority.”

Key powers to be transferrred to Councils include local development plan functions; development management; planning enforcement; conservation area designation/consents; temporary listing of buildings; dealing with hazardous substances consent; revoking, modifying or discontinuing planning permissions and consents’; compensation liabilities arising from planning functions; responding to purchase and blight notices.