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Belfast Planning Service

How we make planning decisions

The type, size and complexity of an application will determine how a decision is made. There are three ways in which a decision can be made:

  • Our Planning Committee will consider all major applications.
  • A planning officer has the authority to determine smaller, more straightforward applications.
  • An elected member may request that an application is decided by the Planning Committee, provided they give sound planning reasons for doing so.
  • The Department of the Environment will make decisions that have regional significance.

Our Scheme of Delegation (PDF - 75KB) sets out full details.


Sometimes building work is not carried out in line with planning permission or permission has not even been granted.

We operate an enforcement service to deal with this.

We can take enforcement action against breaches of planning controls where: 

  • building work which needs planning permission is undertaken without approval,
  • conditions attached to a planning condition are not complied with, or 
  • the use of a building or site is changed without planning permission.  

If any planning controls are breached, we will investigate. Planning enforcement is a complex area and the legal processes involved can be lengthy and complicated. An instant response or resolution cannot be guaranteed. 

Report a planning breach

If you feel that there has been a breach of planning control, report it to us.

You can report a breach to us: 

For more information on how we deal with enforcement complaints and our service standards please read our Enforcement Customer Charter.

Request to speak to committee

If you'd like to speak to our planning committee about a planning application, please complete the form below. You need to have the application reference number and you must submit the request at least 48 hours before the committee meeting. You can only speak to committee if you've submitted a written response to an application.

Once we receive your application we'll be in touch with more information.

Contact us
Belfast Planning Service
028 9050 0510
Belfast Planning Service
Ground Floor
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street